Today was the first day of school. I love the first day of school. It is so full of hope and promise. Nobody’s behind on the readings yet, you get to go to the bookstore and ogle the selection. You get to see who’s in your classes and say hi to old friends. I was tired this morning, but then I got on my bike, turned up the Springsteen, and sped to school for the first class of the Fall 2009 term. I spent the rest of the day on enjoyable task rides, first to Sophie B. Wright middle school to meet with the volunteer coordinators who are working with my service learning students. I was disappointed to find no bike racks there, but it was fun to be in a different school setting with a different kind of first day. While there I heard the bell ring for class change, and a whistle to clear the hall. Very different from college, but that’s where we train to be on time for for school and work. After a discussion of bike safety seemingly unrelated to service learning, I zipped down the Marigny to do some reading and chat with S. as she finished up syllabi. Then back Uptown for dinner and a visit with N. As I headed home for good, I passed Agnes L. Baudit elementary school on Laurel Street. I pass this school all the time, but tonight I stopped to snap a picture and wondered what the first day of school was like in there. The public school system in New Orleans is a hodgepodge of the Charter, New Orleans Public, and Recovery school district, all vying for students and funding. And this doesn’t even include the private schools that educated at a whole different level. The schools here are tiered, reinforcing an already-segregated social, political, and economic life. I don’t know what model will win out, but I wish everyone could bike to a first day of school like mine. Everybody deserves that.