When I was in high school I was lucky enough to take an IB Film class. As part of the course we studied the films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, including Rashomon. The movie is about a brutal robbery and murder, but the story is retold several times from the perspective of different characters. By the end of the film, you’re unsure of what really happened, and who is to blame.
After returning from New Orleans I’m left with a similar sense of confusion. I expected to go to New Orleans and compile the “true story” from conversations with different members of the community. However, the different stories didn’t piece together the way I thought they would. Rather, I’m left with many contradictory perspectives, unified only by the passion of the people who shared them with our group.
In the coming days, through conversation with our group, research and follow up conversations, I hope to synthesize a coherent summary of what I learned. I hope to dig deeper into the performance of the Recovery School District’s direct-run and charter schools. I want to get a better understanding of the admissions process and demographics of the Orleans Parish School Board’s seven direct-run schools, and dozen charter schools. There are so many questions that need answering, because each story I heard seemed to implicate someone else, and complicate the overall narrative. I’m now left struggling to answer the most fundamental question, What is going on in New Orleans?