State of Public Education in New Orleans

Since the Cowen Institute opened its doors at Tulane University in 2007, we have published an annual State of Public Education in New Orleans report to provide an ongoing chronicle and assessment of the reform efforts.  These publications have included a comprehensive description of the current system, an assessment of public opinion, and a list of accomplishments and challenges still facing schools and students.  These reports are designed to help policymakers, educators, and citizens understand how public schools in New Orleans have progressed over time and also how they compare to schools around Louisiana and the United States.


2013

2013 SPENO CoverThe 2012-13 school year marks the seventh full school year since the dramatic transformation of the public school system in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding. Though policies and structures continually evolve, the overarching reform mechanisms of school autonomy, parental choice, and accountability delineate the unique public education model in New Orleans.

Reflecting on the past school year, the 2013 State of Public Education in New Orleans report provides information about the system of schools based on available quantitative data, media coverage, and conversations with school and district leaders. The report also offers important examples of successes as well as key challenges that still face public education in New Orleans.

[Download the Report Here.]

[Download a Powerpoint Presentation Here.]

If you would like to request a Cowen Institute State of Public Education in New Orleans presentation for your organization, please contact Mary Lee Murphy at 504.274.3671 or mmurph3@tulane.edu.

Facilities Update.07.03.13 image_Page_01The Cowen Institute’s New Orleans Public School Facilities Update: June 2013 provides an account of the progress underway in re-building, renovating, and refurbishing public school facilities in the city, where 80 percent of the city was flooded and most of our school buildings damaged or destroyed in 2005. This report updates costs, budgets, and anticipated funding for the remainder of the work in the School Facilities Master Plan (SFMP). The purpose is to give the community a current look at the accomplishments and challenges that still face New Orleans in this colossal and crucial public works project.

[Download the report here.]


2012

The 2011-12 school year was, in many ways, the beginning of a new era in New Orleans’ public education landscape. The year was marked by momentous changes in leadership and strategy at both the state and local levels.

Reflecting on the past school year, the 2012 State of Public Education in New Orleans provides information about the current system of schools based on available quantitative data, newspaper stories and interviews, and a comprehensive survey of New Orleans public school parents. The report also offers a number of successes as well as key challenges that still face public education in New Orleans.

[Download the report here.]


2011

Since the release of The State of Public Education in New Orleans: School Finances in March 2011, additional financial data has been made available by the Louisiana Department of Education. Therefore, this report serves as an addendum to the March brief and includes newly available school-level financial data for the 2009-2010 school year.

In this report, we first provide an overview of charter school revenues in New Orleans and analyze how those revenues were allocated and spent in the 2009-2010 school year. In doing so, we consider key indicators of financial health for charter schools and operators. In addition, this report looks at school-level expenditures for all schools and school types, including non-charters, in New Orleans based on data made available in new one-page financial reports released in May 2011 by the Louisiana Department of Education. As a supplement to the March 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans: School Finances, this report  further develops a picture of the financial status of public schools in New Orleans, a measure that is central to understanding the efficiency and sustainability of the schools serving our city’s students.

[Download the report here.]

The 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans, released in July 2011, is intended to provide journalists, policymakers, community leaders, and the public with the latest information, data, and context about governance, demographics, finances, facilities, and human capital in the new system of schools that has evolved from the reforms undertaken after Hurricane Katrina.

Since the Cowen Institute opened its doors at Tulane University in 2007, we have published an annual State of Public Education in New Orleans report to provide an ongoing chronicle and assessment of the reform efforts. These publications have generally included a comprehensive description of the current system, an assessment of public opinion, and a list of accomplishments and challenges still facing schools and students. As the system of schools continues to stabilize, we have changed the focus of the publication. While we explore issues like school finance and facilities in depth in a series of white papers that are released throughout the year, The 2011 State of Public Education in New Orleans has evolved into a reference guide on the system’s basics – a necessity in the complicated public education landscape in New Orleans – that compiles and analyzes the latest data and information on governance, enrollment, performance, facilities, funding, and human capital.

[Download the report here.]

Released in March 2011, The State of Public Education in New Orleans: School Finances attempts to decipher the K-12 public education financial landscape in New Orleans. This paper describes the financial circumstances of public schools in New Orleans by providing a “bird’s eye” view of revenues and expenditures, and addresses the issues associated with a multi-district system of schools. As one-time federal funds are expended and philanthropic dollars are increasingly scarce, it is imperative that parents, educators, policymakers, and taxpayers understand how money is being spent to ensure the greatest return on investment.

[Download the report here.]


2010

The State of Public Education in New Orleans: School Facilities, released in December 2010, provides details and highlights issues related to the School Facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish, a $2 billion blueprint to build and renovate schools across the city. In addition, we consider the road ahead, including potential speed bumps, with school building assignments, funding for facility maintenance, and cost estimate adjustments. Finally, we present our recommendations for policies and practices to ensure that every child in New Orleans attends school in a state-of-the-art facility.

[Download the report here.]

In August 2010, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast commemorates the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  The State of Public Education in New Orleans: Five Years after Hurricane Katrina to provide journalists, policymakers, community leaders, and the public with information, context, and thoughtful analyses about the reform efforts that have taken place in the K-12 public education system in the five years since the storm devastated our city.

[Download the report here.]

SPENO 2010 CoverThe 2010 State of Public Education in New Orleans report, released in March 2010, provides a comprehensive survey of quantitative data and public opinion about what is working and not working in our public schools – sharing the voice of the educators, parents, and voters. It is important that decisions affecting public schools and students in New Orleans be informed decisions, based on research and the needs and desires of the people most impacted.

The report also offers a set of successes that schools have achieved over the past two years as well as key challenges that still face public education in New Orleans.  The report is designed to help policymakers, educators, parents, nonprofit organizations, and the community understand how public schools in New Orleans have progressed over time and also how they compare to schools around Louisiana and the United States.

In addition to explaining how the current system emerged after Hurricane Katrina, the report gives detailed information on student demographics, school facilities, school finances, school choice and human capital. The 2010 State of Public Education in New Orleans report also provides detailed student achievement data by school and survey results from a recent public opinion poll on school governance.

[Download the full report here.]

[Download the executive summary here.]


2009

The addendum to the 2008 State of Public Education in New Orleans report (released in January 2009 ) analyzes the performance of public schools in New Orleans on standardized tests and other measures of student outcomes. Our report shows that, compared to last school year and to the period before Hurricane Katrina, public schools in New Orleans have made great strides in student achievement. According to the most recent school performance data released by the Louisiana Department of Education, if schools in New Orleans were still in one district, their district performance score would be 66.4 for the 2007-2008 school year. This represents a significant increase of nearly 10 points from the district’s score of 56.9 in the 2004-2005 school year. Even with these gains, however, the overall performance of public schools in New Orleans remains unacceptably low. We must do more to ensure that our children are provided with the education that they deserve.

[Download the Executive Summary here.]

[Download the Part 1 of the report here.]

[Download the Part 2 of the report here.]

 


2008

Cowen Book.indbIn partnership with the Greater New Orleans Education Foundation and the New Orleans City Council’s Education Committee, we released the second  State of Public Education in New Orleans report in April 2008. The report provides an ongoing chronicle and assessment of the progress of public education in New Orleans, including a comprehensive description of the current system and an assessment of public opinion about how well the schools are performing. We believe the report serves as a definitive source of information on public education in New Orleans for the legislature, governor, educators, media, funders, and the larger community.

The report is based on a widespread and in-depth analysis of public schools in New Orleans including more than 50 interviews with community leaders, public officials, education experts, and school principals; over 25 focus groups with students, teachers, and community members; and over 1,850 survey responses from parents, teachers, and community members. In addition, Cowen Institute researchers obtained data and information about public schools from the Louisiana Department of Education, the Recovery School District, the Orleans Parish School Board, and other organizations.

[Download the Executive Summary here.]

[Download the full report here.]


2007

SPENO2007-1In partnership with the Greater New Orleans Education Foundation and the New Orleans City Council’s Education Committee, we released the first State of Public Education in New Orleans report in June 2007. The report provides a baseline of information about how the system was doing and outlines a set of recommendations for the city with the goal of quality education for all public school students. We believe the report served as a definitive source of information on public education in New Orleans for the legislature, governor, educators, media, funders, and the larger community.

[Download the report here.]

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