A Haiti Classroom, destroyed in the Earthquake The shattered education system of Haiti is in the hands of Paul Vallas - the man responsible for school 'reform' in Chicago and New Orleans The shool system in Haiti was already in a parlous state before the devastating earthquake of last year. Schools were regularly damaged by extreme weather conditions and few were able to withstand the earthquake. As many as 5000 schools were destroyed according to a UNICEF report. Before the quake hit 90% of schools were private and parents were having to pay up to 40% of their income in school fees. Now the school system is being run by Paul Vallas who was responsible for the 'rebuilding' of education in  New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina virtually destroyed the city.  Vallas replaced the public school system in New Orleans by one completely dominated by privately run charter schools. In an excellent article, Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle schoolteacher, describes how Vallas is importing the anti-union, anti public education model of education onto the devastated island with little or no adequate infrastructure to go with it. On an isalnd prone to extreme heat and extreme weather, for example, many children are being taught in trailers. Not only that but the curruculum comes 'shrink-wrapped' from the US . As Hagopian puts it: "To Vallas, education is a simple matter that shouldn't be made more complicated by considerations about students being multifaceted individuals with different learning styles, backgrounds and passions". Far from learning about the island's history of exploitation and plunder by colonial powers such as France, Britain and the US, pupils will receive  'a "delivery system" assembly line, where the purpose of education becomes the systematic and linear production of widget-students.' And it is unlikely that the pupils will be learning about their revolutionary history and debating how to build on the legacy of Toussaint L'Ouverture who led the first slave rebellion and founded a free state in Haiti at the beginning of the 19th century. As Hagopian says:  "Governments the world over owe a debt to Haiti that is long past due -- some from a history of direct colonial control or later economic subjugation, and some from failing to honor pledges made in the aftermath of the earthquake. If these debts were repaid, that would be the basis for constructing a world-class education system. "The balance owed should be deposited directly with the Haitian government to build a public school system accountable to the country's citizens, not private interests. Haitian schools must be built immediately, in permanent, earthquake-resistant, hurricane-safe, world-class facilities that are free for all to attend. In this vision for the country's public schools, they would serve as a focal point for Haitian society, where clean water and free meals could be organized and distributed to families. "Finally, Haitian educators must be given the autonomy to develop curricula that matches the needs of their students and the world into which they will graduate -- skills such as creativity, civic courage, leadership, teamwork and social responsibility, which will be needed to address the massive social challenges facing Haiti." To read Jesse Hagopian's  article in full go to: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/09-13