In May 2014, the Cowen Institute conducted its fifth poll since 2009 to gauge opinions of public education in New Orleans. The 2014 poll surveyed likely voters, those who voted in at least four of the last ten elections or registered to vote in Orleans Parish since the November 2012 election.
Respondents answered questions about their general satisfaction with public education and opinions on taxes, governance, school choice, common standards and tests, and college and career readiness.
Public education in New Orleans is enduring one of the most dramatic changes in American history. This year marks a critical threshold as the Recovery School District, the state agency charged with transforming failing schools, closes its last direct-run schools in New Orleans.
Advocates argue the reforms are a complete success; others claim complete failure. This poll suggests New Orleans voters have a nuanced view.
Poll respondents support some of the core concepts that have defined change, including school transformation and school choice. They show a willingness to pay more taxes to maintain school facilities and expand early childhood education.
At the same time, this poll suggests more work is necessary. For example, respondents are dissatisfied with the ability of the City’s high schools to prepare students for college or the job market.