Charter & Autonomous Schools

Ever since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in late 2005, charter schools have been a major part of the landscape of public education in the city. Today, the majority of public school students (over 90 percent) are enrolled in charter schools, a number that has continued to grow. New Orleans also has the largest percentage of its students in charter schools of any school district in the United States, with Washington, D.C. at a distant second.

Given the prominent role that charter schools currently play in the New Orleans public school system, the Cowen Institute works to evaluate the impact of wide-scale decentralization  – both intended and unintended – on student achievement, equity, finances, school choice, and more.


Cowen Institute Reports, Publications & Presentations

Louisiana Charter School Authorizer Excellence Project
August 2010
This report, which was written in collaboration with the Office of Parental Options at the Louisiana Department of Education, is an accounting of the topics discussed by participants at the two-day Louisiana Charter School Authorizer Excellence Conference. Additionally, the four following reports provide a more in depth review of the laws, policies and procedures related to charter authorizing in Louisiana.

Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in the Charter School Renewal Process
June 2010
In this brief, we review national best practices in charter renewal, describe the current year’s renewal policies for Type 5 charters in Louisiana, offer observations about how the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (BESE) policies have or have not been implemented, and make recommendations for how the process can be improved for charter schools that will be applying for renewals in the coming years.

Charter School Authorizers and Charter School Operators
November 2009
This report examines the history of charter schools in New Orleans and Louisiana and looks at options for charter school authorizers and for the governance of individual charter schools.

The State of Public Education in New Orleans
These publications are part of a series that the Cowen Institute produces on a regular basis about the state of public education in New Orleans.  The reports include a comprehensive description of the current system, including information specific to charter and autonomous schools.


The Cowen Institute in the News


Additional Resources


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