Recently, the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA) released a policy brief outlining the effect that the past decade-plus of New Orleans school reforms had on key achievement metrics. For context, during the school year immediately prior to Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana’s Orleans Parish schools ranked 67th of 68 in the state for math and reading test scores, and the graduation rate was barely over 50 percent, more than 10 percent lower than the state average.
In the aftermath of the storm, the state of Louisiana was forced to take over most all of the public schools in New Orleans. They in turn handed them over to nonprofit organizations to operate as charter schools, independent of the local school board and free to set most all of their own policies.
Overall, ERA researchers found that the reforms increased student achievement by anywhere from 11 to 16 percentiles, depending on the subject area. High school graduation rates increased by 3 to 9 percent and the college entry rate increased by 8 to 15 percent. The report also showed improved outcomes across the board for disadvantaged students.
While these effects are important to note, the researchers were quick to point out that similar reforms in other districts may not yield the same results. But the strategies that were implemented did indeed begin a conversation about what impact a “market-based” approach might have on an educational system. For more information, explore the full report here.
Interested in hearing more? Be sure to register to attend the PIE Network 2018 Summit to be held October 3-5 in New Orleans.