2009 CABL Poll Results

Four Years After Katrina

It has been four years since Katrina struck, the levees failed, and New Orleans began the challenge of rebuilding a better city. One of the most dramatic upheavals since the storm has been in public education.

New Orleans schools now operate under a decentralized system that is completely unique. Sixty percent of students attend public charter schools. Charters have the freedom to individually decide how they will operate to better serve the needs of their students – who to hire, what curriculum to use, how to spend the money.

Moreover, all schools are schools of choice. Families get to pick their school, since students are no longer assigned to a school based on where they live.

How do voters feel about the changes?

A recent poll conducted by the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) reveals that New Orleans voters overwhelmingly support the changes and don’t want to go back to education as usual. The CABL survey, conducted by Vern Kennedy, polled 500 registered voters in New Orleans. The results:

  • When asked in an open-ended question to list things that are better than they were before Katrina, one in four voters named education – the number one response. Continue reading

Spring 2009 Graduation Rates

The Senior Graduation Rate Rises in New Orleans

A valuable measurement of a high school’s performance is the percentage of its seniors that graduate.

Prompted by the recent Times-Picayune profile of the tremendous improvement in the senior graduation rate at John McDonogh High School (click here to view article), Educate Now wanted to see how the seniors in all New Orleans high schools fared.

Historically, New Orleans has done a dismal job helping its seniors cross the finish line. In fact, in spring 2005, the last year all the schools were under the Orleans Parish School Board, only 79% of New Orleans seniors graduated, tying Madison Parish for the worst record in the state. Thus, for every 100 seniors, 21 did not get to walk across the stage and receive a diploma.

(click here for the 2005 state report)

So how did we do this year?  89% of New Orleans seniors graduated – a gain of 10 percentage points. This is good news for New Orleans and even better news for the 2,030 students who now can proudly say they are high school graduates. (See the chart below for graduation rates by school.) Continue reading

2009 Spring Test Results

Great News: Performance Soars!

The recently released 2009 Test Scores are great news for New Orleans. Across the city, student achievement improved dramatically.

These gains are truly significant and show the reforms underway are working.

  • New Orleans improved more than the state across all grades and subjects.
  • New Orleans showed real growth in the percentage of students passing the promotional high-stakes LEAP and GEE tests.
  • Significantly more students met the state proficiency goal of Basic or Above.

This edition of Leslie’s Notebook will focus on the high stakes tests – 4th and 8th grade English and Math LEAP tests, along with the Graduation Exit Exam – to highlight the tremendous improvement both this year and since the state took over the schools in 2006.

These results include all schools under the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District, both traditional and charter.

Continue reading

Paul Vallas’ Legacy

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After Paul Vallas’ annoucement last week that he will be returning to Chicago in 2010, a number of Educate Now!’s members asked me for my perspective on this coming transition.  This Notebook is also the subject of a guest column in today’s Times Picayune.
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So, what will Paull Vallas’ depature in 2010 mean for the school reform effort? 
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After he leaves, student achievement in New Orleans will continue to improve.

How can I proclaim this with such confidence?

Because we now have a new model of public education reform that is no longer dependent upon Paul Vallas or any other single person for its success.

2008 School Performance Scores

 

The recently released School Performance Scores give us the first clear picture of how schools in New Orleans are performing since Katrina.


Student test scores are used for three different measurements: student performance, school performance, and district performance.  In May, the state releases the test scores and gives information on individual student performance: how many passed the LEAP test, did scores go up, etc. This month, the state issued both School and District Performance Scores.


School Performance Scores (SPS) analyze the test data at the school level allowing us to compare one school’s performance to another. A District Performance Score takes the student test data for all students in the district to evaluate district performance.

For a listing of schools and scores go to: School Scores

So How Do We Compare Post-Katrina?

Schools are better

Fewer are failing. The percentage of schools that are one star or higher (non-failing) has increased from 34% to 55%. Continue reading