K-12 Public Schools in New Orleans and Louisiana: 101

As part of the Cowen Institute’s commitment to inform our stakeholders on the issues relevant to public schools and their respective communities, we have developed comprehensive information on K-12 public education in New Orleans and Louisiana. These reports are designed to provide basic information on several issues affecting education in the city and state, including: governance, demographics and enrollment, public school funding, public school performance, the recovery school district, charter schools, and public school facilities.

We believe that knowledge of these topics is important in making informed decisions for our legislature, our local leaders and for the public at large.

The State of Public Education in New Orleans

The 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans, released in July 2011, is intended to provide the public with the latest information, data, and context about governance, demographics, finances, facilities, and human capital in the new system of schools that has evolved from the reforms undertaken after Hurricane Katrina.

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. These publications have generally included a comprehensive description of the current system, an assessment of public opinion, and a list of accomplishments and challenges still facing schools and students. As the system of schools continues to stabilize, we have changed the focus of the publication. While we explore issues like school finance and facilities in depth in a series of white papers that are released throughout the year, The 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans has evolved into a reference guide on the system’s basics – a necessity in the complicated public education landscape in New Orleans – that compiles and analyzes the latest data and information on governance, enrollment, performance, facilities, funding, and human capital.

Download the 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans report here.

All of the previous State of Public Education in New Orleans reports are available for download here.

The 2011 State of Public Education in Louisiana

This annual report is meant to inform our state legislators and key stakeholders on public education issues in Louisiana.  It is divided into seven topical sections.

Louisiana PK-12 Education: Governance, Demographics, & Enrollment
This first section of the report includes information on local and state governance, 2010-2011 student demographics, and student enrollment data. It also highlights the governance structure in Orleans Parish and contains the report cover and Table of Contents.

Public School Funding in Louisiana
This section includes detailed information on the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), including the local and state shares and an explanation of the funding structure for public schools in general and in the Recovery School District. It also provides a comparison of school funding across Louisiana districts and between Louisiana and the rest of the country.

Public School Performance
This section includes information on school performance scores (SPS), how Louisiana compares to other states and other countries, and information on the achievement gap in the state.

Recovery School District
This section includes an explanation of the role of the Recovery School District (RSD) in Louisiana, as well as its performance in New Orleans.

Charter Schools
This section provides an overview of charter schools in the state – what they are, their governance structure, location, and student demographics.

Public School Facilities
This section includes information on spending on school facilities both in Louisiana and across the country, as well as an overview of Louisiana’s school facilities needs.

Download the 2011 State of Public Education in Louisiana report by clicking here.

To download previous years’ reports, click here.

The Recovery School District: Louisiana’s Accountability System

This supplement to the 2011 State of Public Education in Louisiana report provides additional information about the Recovery School District (RSD), including how schools become eligible for takeover, what happens once a school is found eligible, and the RSD’s role and performance in New Orleans. You can download this brief report here.


The Cowen Institute is happy to provide you with more detailed information on any of these topics and looks forward to continuing to work with you to catalyze and sustain positive reforms in public schooling opportunities for children. Please contact Deb Vaughan, the Assistant Director of Research, at 504-274-3659 or at dvaughan@tulane.edu should you have any questions or need additional information.

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