OPEN on equity: “Children bring their communities with them in their backpacks”

OPEN director Nahliah Webber on the Midcity Messenger:

“Children bring their communities with them in their backpacks,” she said. “So whatever is going on in their neighborhoods is with them, so we need to have a larger conversation about what’s going on around them and how to solve it.”

Webber said OPEN is working to spread educational resources throughout the city – and not just schools that serve mostly high-income students – so every child has a chance to learn. About 88 percent of students in the city come from low-income homes, and more than 40 percent of those students attend D- or F-grade schools.

Low-rated schools have fewer resources for students, which means those low-income students have fewer chances to succeed. Webber said OPEN is working to broaden conversations about what equitable education means in New Orleans, which includes better access to housing, transportation and food for everyone.

“That…lessens the burden that schools have to pick up and meet with their very-limited resources,” she said.

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