New Orleans Reforms Boost School Performance

After Katrina, New Orleans essentially erased its school district and started over. Within the span of one year, all public-school employees were fired, the teacher contract expired and was not replaced, and the state took control of almost all public schools, dramatically reshaping the teacher workforce and providing the first direct test of an alternative to the U.S.’s century-old system of school governance.

But are New Orleans’ schools living up to the expectation that once schools are freed from district and union contract rules and allowed to innovate, schools will work better and students will learn more? In three new articles published in Education Next, researchers with the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA-New Orleans) at Tulane University, directed by professor of economics, Douglas Harris, show the impact of the reforms on student performance; consider to what degree the city’s system of school choice provides a variety of distinct options for families; and take a careful look at the city’s unique centralized enrollment system.

The articles, all of which will appear in the Fall 2015 issue of Education Next, are now available online:

Good News for New Orleans: Early evidence shows reforms lifting student achievement,” by Douglas N. Harris

Many Options in New Orleans Choice System: School characteristics vary widely,” by Paula Arce-Trigatti, Douglas N. Harris, Huriya Jabbar, and Jane Arnold Lincove

The New Orleans OneApp: Centralized enrollment matches students and schools of choice,” by Douglas N. Harris, Jon Valant, and Betheny Gross

—Education Next

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