K-12 Public Education through the Public’s Eye: A Survey of the New Orleans Community (2010)


[Read a Summary of the 2010 Survey Results]

The Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives has released the results of its second annual public opinion poll called K-12 Public Education through the Public Eye: A Survey of the New Orleans Community. The opinion poll surveyed New Orleans voters to assess their opinions about recent public education reforms and the future direction of public schools in New Orleans. This is the second year the Cowen Institute has provided the community a platform to express their opinions about public school reform and governance since Hurricane Katrina.

Few communities have the opportunity to think through the organization of their public school system in a way that the city of New Orleans has had and will continue to have over the next few years. As part of the Cowen Institute’s work on informing the educational transformation that is taking place in New Orleans, providing the community a voice is crucial to sustaining positive change.

Highlights of the survey findings are available below and a briefing on the full survey results can be downloaded by clicking here.

Support of the Reform Efforts: This year, significantly more people believe that public schools are better today than they were before Hurricane Katrina.

  • More than half (54%) of voters surveyed believe public schools in New Orleans are better after Katrina. This is up significantly from last year (32% in 2009).
  • 58% of voters surveyed agree with the state’s decision to take over schools in the aftermath of Katrina. This is down slightly from last year (68% agreed in 2009).

Future Governance of Public Education in New Orleans: Respondents support putting all schools under a single governing entity but do not believe that the control of all schools should go to OPSB, RSD, or to the Mayor. The majority of voters surveyed favor creating a new school board whose members would be elected city-wide, as opposed to by district.

  • 70% of voters surveyed favor creating a new school board whose members are elected city-wide (only 26% favor a new board whose members are appointed by the mayor).
  • 46% of respondents support putting all public schools in New Orleans under a single governing entity but oppose giving all schools to the Orleans Parish School Board (59% oppose), the RSD (47% oppose), or to the Mayor of New Orleans (70% oppose).
  • Almost half of voters surveyed are against allowing individual public schools to decide for themselves whether they will be governed by the RSD or OPSB, as recommended by Superintendent Paul Pastorek.

The second annual public opinion poll was conducted by phone between October 18-21, 2010 by Market Research Insight on behalf of the Cowen Institute. The sample population consisted of 500 randomly selected registered voters in Orleans Parish; the sample was representative of the racial, ethnic, and income distribution of the city. To download the full survey results, click here.

Click here for information on the 2009 opinion poll.

Please contact Debra Vaughan with any questions at dvaughan@tulane.edu or by calling 504-274-3659.

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