Thursday, October 06, 2005

Homeschooling evacuees

The AP ran a surprising story about the ongoing struggle to provide an adequate education for hurricane evacuees. It seems that a massive number of them are homeschooling. I guess it shouldn't be surprising really, since for many parents and students, there just aren't many other good choices. Public schools are overcrowded and private schools have even less capacity than the public ones.

It's almost impossible to tell how many exactly are doing this, or what the long term effects on the kids will be, but the AP provided some pretty interesting anecdotes, like these:

"At her school in East Baton Rouge, there were four drug busts one day, and the next someone was selling pills," said Michelle Pellegal, gesturing at her 16-year-old daughter, April Kent. "She said, 'I can't go to that school any more."'

...Pellegal works in the produce department of a grocery store. She will oversee her daughter's lessons in chemistry and algebra after work, she said, until Plaquemines Parish schools reopen.

Some, like Pam Ricouard, followed the state's wishes and enrolled her five children in school in Erath, a rural town in coastal Louisiana, after Katrina only to flee before Rita put the small farming town underwater.

Now, she said, she's home-schooling her fourth, sixth, eighth, ninth and 12th grade children until her local school district reopens.

"Math'll be hard," she said, sighing. "It's not just addition and subtraction -- it's everything."

Even the students seem fed up with the seemingly endless vacation that Katrina and Rita bestowed upon them, stuck as they often are at home in the sticky Louisiana heat.

"I'm ready to go back and see all my friends," Kent said. "I don't like being at home, all bored."


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