The Cowen Institute strives to understand how public schools and school systems can be successful, especially in a decentralized environment, and to influence the process of public education improvement in New Orleans with high-quality information and applied research. Our research does not simply sit on a shelf and collect dust; it is widely distributed and utilized by key stakeholders across the New Orleans area, the state, and the entire country. The Cowen Institute’s staff serves as an objective voice to education leaders, policymakers, the media, and the public about what is taking place in public education in New Orleans – particularly in the areas of accountability, operations (finance, human capital, and facilities), and governance – by disseminating relevant data and research. We draft briefings and conduct forums, meetings, and seminars that inform educators, administrators, media, and the general community on issues impacting public education in New Orleans. Our areas of focus and several current research projects are outlined below.


Areas of Focus:

  • Develop and analyze applied educational research that is both relevant to New Orleans and has national implications
  • Inform the process of public education improvement in the city by identifying and sharing educational data, research, and best practices with key stakeholders
  • Chronicle the transformation of public education in New Orleans
  • Convene and coordinate researchers who are interested in the lessons learned from New Orleans
  • Build research capacity at Tulane University

Our Work:


Research Contacts:

Debra Vaughan Director of Research 504-274-3659 dvaughan@tulane.edu

Patrick Sims Senior Research Analyst 504-274-3634 psims1@tulane.edu

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