Public Education through the Public Eye: A Survey of New Orleans Voters and Parents (2009)

Opinion Poll Report Cover

[Read a Summary of the 2009 Survey Results]

The Cowen Institute has released the results of its first annual public opinion poll called Public Education through the Public Eye: A Survey of New Orleans Voters and Parents. The opinion poll surveyed New Orleans voters and parents of public school students to assess their opinions about recent public education reforms and the future direction of public schools in New Orleans. No previous survey has delved this deeply into the public’s opinions about and experiences with school reform and governance since Hurricane Katrina.

Few cities have the opportunity to think through the organization of their public education system in the 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 of informing the educational transformation taking place in New Orleans, giving voice to citizens and parents is crucial to sustaining positive change.

For full voter survey results click here.
For full parent survey results click here.

Highlights of the survey findings are available below.

Parent Priorities and Experiences –
Most parents give their child’s school a grade of A or B.
Parents were asked to grade their child’s school by giving it an A, B, C, D, or F.

63% of all parents gave their child’s school an A or B.
75% of parents felt that it was important that their child be able to enroll at their neighborhood school.
Parents overwhelmingly perceived the registration and enrollment process as uncomplicated.

Reform: Choice, Charters, and New Teachers - Voters support state takeover of schools after Katrina and support school choice.

66% of voters agreed with the state’s decision to take over schools in the aftermath of the storm.
70% of all voters and 69% of all parents agreed that charter schools have improved education in New Orleans.
79% of voters and 88% of parents support school choice, agreeing that parents should be able to send their children to any school in the city.

Future Governance of Public Education in New OrleansRegardless of who holds the office of mayor, the vast majority of those polled believe overseeing public education should not be part of the job.

55% of voters oppose giving control of all schools back to the Orleans Parish School Board, and 57% of parents oppose this option.
74% of voters favored the creation of a new school board to be elected citywide.
7% of voters favored giving the next mayor of New Orleans control of all schools, and 13% favored the creation of a mayor-appointed board. The vast majority (83% and 80%, respectively) opposed both options.

Funding of Public Schools - Parents are willing to pay more in taxes for better public schools.

49% of voters and 51% of parents said they would be willing to pay more in sales or property taxes to support schools.

Methodology – The survey on which the following analysis is based was conducted between the dates of November 3-14, 2009 by Market Research Insight on behalf of the Cowen Institute. The sample population consisted of 600 randomly selected registered voters in Orleans Parish with an over sample of 300 parents with children enrolled in a public school.

Click here to read the results of the 2010 Survey.

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

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