An Analysis of the Recommendation Concerning the Transfer of RSD Schools to Local Control
The Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University
October 2010


Five years ago, the state took control of the majority of public schools in New Orleans and placed them in the Recovery School District (RSD).  Today, many of these schools have improved and are on an upward trajectory.  Under the law that allowed for the takeover, schools had to remain in the RSD for five years (not including the partial year of the takeover).

On September 14, 2010, State Superintendent Paul Pastorek and Recovery School District (RSD) Superintendent Paul Vallas presented their recommendation for a process to transfer RSD schools back to local control.  The recommendation presented by the superintendents is a multi-faceted document with many different conditions that would govern the decision about whether to return or retain schools.  Whatever BESE’s final decision is, it will have significant implications for public schools in New Orleans for years to come.

Given the detailed nature of the recommendation and the importance of BESE’s decision, the Cowen Institute felt that it is crucial that all aspects be examined carefully so that revisions can be made where appropriate.  This position paper reflects our thoughts about the aspects of the recommendation that we believe need further consideration and possible revision.  The first section of the paper presents a short summary of the recommendation.  The second section analyzes key aspects of the recommendation and includes Cowen Institute recommendations related to each key aspect.

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