Spotlight on Choice

In its new project, Spotlight on Choice, the Scott S. Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University will explore and assess the transparency, equality and sustainability of school choice in New Orleans, including application and enrollment processes, transportation, withdrawal, sibling, and transfer policies. Through a series of white papers, briefings and reports, we will consider the policies, practices, perceptions and trends that define the all-choice system. We will also study the best practices of other school systems implementing choice and will work with decision-makers to provide resources and recommendations as they establish enrollment systems and policies in New Orleans.


Voters’ Perceptions of Public Education in New Orleans, Spring 2014 (May 2014)
The Cowen Institute’s fifth annual poll gauged the opinions of likely voters in New Orleans. The May 2014 poll asked respondents about their general satisfaction with public education and opinions on taxes, governance, school choice, common standards and tests, and college and career readiness. Click here for the report and the poll results.

K-12 Public Education through the Public Eye: Voters’ Perception of Public Education (April 2013)
The Cowen Institute’s fourth annual public opinion poll surveyed New Orleans’ voters’ opinions of the city’s public school system on a number of subjects, such as their confidence in the Orleans Parish School Board, what should be done about failing schools, and the impacts of school choice. Read an article about the survey in the Times-Picayune here.

Spotlight on Choice: Parent Opinions on School Selection in New Orleans (January 2013)
In a series of focus groups on schools choice, the Cowen Institute collected feedback on the school selection process from over 80 families with school-age children in New Orleans. Our January 2013 report, Spotlight on Choice: Parent Opinions on School Selection, evaluates the effectiveness of school choice as a successful reform strategy. Based on the focus group discussions, we conclude that, due to limited seats at high quality schools and a complicated application process, school choice in New Orleans currently does an inadequate job providing all parents with access to the best schools for their children.

Private Schools and Choice: The Student Scholarships for Education Excellence Pilot Program in Orleans Parish (April 2012)
Since 2008, a publicly-funded private school voucher pilot program in New Orleans has provided nearly 2,000 students from low and moderate income families a scholarship to attend a private or parochial school.  This research brief provides an overview of the New Orleans voucher pilot program and its impact on academic achievement and access to quality schools for all children. For an explanation of the statewide voucher program expansion approved by the Louisiana Legislature in April 2012 and how it differs from the New Orleans pilot program, click here.

K-12 Public Education through the Public Eye: Parents’ Perceptions of School Choice (December 2011)
The Cowen Institute’s third annual public opinion poll surveyed parents of students in New Orleans public schools to assess their experiences in the open enrollment system and their perceptions of the availability of information on public schools and public school options. Read an article about the survey in the Times-Picayune here.

Case Studies of School Choice and Open Enrollment in Four Cities (November 2011)
While New Orleans is at the vanguard of a number of public education innovations, it was not the first public school system to put into place an open enrollment policy. This briefing presents four case studies that review the open enrollment policies and systems in New Orleans, Cambridge, San Diego, and New York City, examining how the systems operate and the impact they have on students and families.

In the News:

The Cowen Institute is very pleased and honored to receive an IMPACT 2011 challenge grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) to support our Spotlight on Choice initiative, a study of school choice in New Orleans. 

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