Reconnecting Opportunity Youth: Data Reference Guide

roy_data_guide_coverToday, the Cowen Institute at Tulane University released Reconnecting Opportunity Youth: Data Reference Guide. The report, authored by Senior Policy Analyst Patrick Sims, is a comprehensive examination of opportunity youth at the national, state, and metropolitan levels from a cost and demographic perspective.

“This report provides a baseline for understanding who opportunity youth are both in New Orleans and nationally,” said Vincent Rossmeier, Director of Policy for the Cowen Institute. “Opportunity youth can truly be assets for their communities when they are reconnected to quality employment, educational, and training opportunities. Reconnection of this kind is the first step in ensuring opportunity youth persist on pathways to living-wage careers.”

The mission of the Cowen Institute is to advance public education and youth success in New Orleans and beyond. Launched in 2007, we inform relevant stakeholders, decision makers, and the public at large on issues related to K-12 public education, disconnected youth, and college and career readiness. We promote the practical application of data and analysis to improve education and career pathways for youth. We also proactively develop, incubate, and operate innovative initiatives that support students and young adults. Based at Tulane University, a national research and regional anchor institution, we strive to positively impact our community and strengthen the local and regional economy.

The Latest from the Cowen Institute

Tulane’s Earn and Learn Program featured on Channel 4 WWL

Program manager Brandy Williams and Earn and Learn apprentice Jesus Arce sat down with WWL to talk about the new market-driven youth program.

Cowen Institute Releases Interactive Governance & School Guide to Serve Parents During Enrollment Period

The Cowen Institute has launched a new interactive tool to help families who are currently gathering information to complete school applications.

Using the Cowen Institute Governance and School Guide, families can filter schools by performance, OneApp participation and geographic zones, grade levels, and by the mode of transportation offered. With the interactive map, families can determine how far a school is from their home and the length of commute by car, public transportation, bicycle, or on foot.

Parents access information about schools in a variety of ways. The Cowen Institute Governance and School Guide is complementary to other valuable parent resources, including The Parents’ Guide to Public Schools, LA School Finder, and the annual Urban League Schools Expo.

Cowen Institute at Tulane University Announces Launch of Earn and Learn Career Pathways Program

Market-driven design meets needs of opportunity youth and regional employers

 Working on ComputerThe Cowen Institute at Tulane University is proud to announce the recent launch of the Earn and Learn Career Pathways Program.The program is designed with a market-driven approach that seeks to meet the needs of regional businesses and opportunity youth—young people aged 16-24 who are neither working nor in school. Earn and Learn introduces opportunity youth to career pathways in high-growth, high-wage industries. The establishment of Earn and Learn is a step towards New Orleans reaching its potential of addressing the workforce demands of its rapidly growing business sectors as well as the needs of the city’s most vulnerable youth. The program launched in September with its first cohort of 18 participants.

Click here to learn more about Earn and Learn.

NOLA by the Numbers: 2014 School Performance Scores

NBTN.SPS.2014.CoverThe Cowen Institute is pleased to release its latest NOLA by the Numbers on the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2014 School Performance Scores (SPS). The report explains the 2013-14 SPS calculation, as well as changes in the grading scale associated with the transition to Common Core and higher standards. Unique contributions of the report include an analysis of New Orleans school performance over time relative to state performance, analyses of the components of elementary, middle school and high school performance scores including the types of diplomas with which students graduate, and OneApp geographic zones with average weighted SPS. Click here to download, read, and interact with the data.

The 2014 State of Public Education in New Orleans


This year, we have two versions of the report: a downloadable PDF and a website with interactive maps, charts, and data. Download, read, and interact with the report at

Since the Cowen Institute opened its doors at Tulane University in 2007, we have published an annual State of Public Education in New Orleans report to provide an ongoing chronicle and assessment of the reform efforts. The report is designed to help policymakers, educators, and citizens understand how public schools in New Orleans have progressed over time and also how they compare to schools around Louisiana and the United States.

Voters’ Perceptions of Public Education in New Orleans, Spring 2014

PG 1 Image The Cowen Institute is pleased to release its fifth poll gauging opinions of public education in New Orleans. The May 2014 poll asked respondents about their general satisfaction with public education and opinions on taxes, governance, school choice, common standards and tests, and college and career readiness. Click here for the report and the poll results.

NOLA by the Numbers: LEAP & iLEAP Test Results, 2014

annual report.2013_Page_01The latest report from the Cowen Institute analyzes the 2014 LEAP and iLEAP test scores for 3rd-8th graders. The report looks at school results over time, the number of students who are well-prepared for the next grade-level, and how scores vary by grade and subject. Click here to read the report, explore a map, and interact with the data.

High School Disconnection: Insights from the Inside

annual report.2013_Page_01The Cowen Institute is pleased to release High School Disconnection: Insights from the Inside, which explores the causes of high school disconnection and potential solutions to address it. The study uses information gathered in interviews with high school administrators and staff, leaders of supporting youth development intermediaries, as well as focus groups with youth, to understand the root causes of youth disconnection and current practices and interventions targeting dropout prevention in New Orleans. The discussions center around the issues of academic preparation, school culture, building relevant and rigorous curricula, and relationships with adult mentors and peers. Click here to read the report, explore a map, and interact with the data.

NOLA by the Numbers: Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Eligibility, Feb. 2014

annual report.2013_Page_01The Cowen Institute is pleased to release its latest NOLA by the Numbers, which analyzes student free and reduced-price lunch eligibility in New Orleans public schools based on February 2014 data. The report looks at this data relative to school performance and compares New Orleans’ rate to other major U.S. cities. Click here to read the report, explore a map, and interact with the data.

Road Map to Success: FAFSA Completion in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Nation

annual report.2013_Page_01The Cowen Institute is pleased to introduce Road Map to Success, a new series that will assist practitioners by providing data driven analysis and highlighting some best practices. The first installment, FAFSA Completion in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Nation, analyzes data on FAFSA completion and offers strategies for how all schools can connect their students to student aid, grants, and scholarships. Click here to read the report, explore maps of completion rates by parish and state, and interact with the data.

Career Day of Action 2014

CDA2014 PicOn March 21, 2014, the Cowen Institute hosted the first annual Cowen Institute Career Day of Action. Keeping with our mission to advance the success of New Orleans children on their educational pathways, the College and Career Readiness team provides direct services to prepare and connect New Orleans youth to college and careers through a broad spectrum of initiatives. Click here to read more.


From President Emeritus Scott Cowen

“From being ranked one of the worst school districts in the country, New Orleans has responded with a new philosophy that empowers schools to be the centerpiece for transformation and holds them accountable. Through the work of the Cowen Institute, Tulane’s commitment to improving the educational opportunities for every child in the city has become a reality.”