By Teri Okita
11:41pm August 28, 2006
This past year has been one of great loss and great triumph for the people of New Orleans.
President Bush arrived in New Orleans to commemorate the one year anniversary of Katrina. He and the First Lady dined with state and local officials after a day touring Mississippi. It's the President's 13th visit to the Gulf Coast since the hurricane hit.
The administration faced strong criticism for what many considered a slow federal response after Katrina.
Now one year later, some hurricane victims are still waiting for relief funds. Many are wondering why little or nothing has been done so far, but the Big Easy has come a long way when it comes to the city's school system where "charter" schools are moving kids into "unchartered" territory. Of the 53 public schools that have reopened, a record 31 are charters.
Many of the city's public schools are simply uninhabitable sitting desolate and void of the sounds of schoolchildren, but there's also a sense that New Orleans is on the verge of an education revolution.
Charters are independent public schools that must meet state standards and are accountable for all the government funds they receive, but they also have wiggle room when it comes to staff and curriculum. As with so many other things in this city, they're charting a new course into the unknown.