Other Analysis

The Promise of Career Prep

This guest editorial appeared in the Times-Picayune, and I wanted to share it with you.

Career prep can improve lives, aid local economy: Leslie Jacobs

Delgado Image

In New Orleans, less than half (48 percent) of African-American men of working age are employed – the rest are either out of work or out of the workforce. This employment crisis threatens the livelihoods of individuals and families, as well as the fabric of our city. Our new system of schools must evolve to prepare all of our students for meaningful careers.

Let’s be clear: Our schools have made tremendous gains.

Our K-8 schools have increased the percentage of eighth-graders performing on grade level in math and English from 28 percent pre-storm to 67 percent last spring, just one point shy of the state average.

The graduating class of 2013 is in much better shape than the class of 2005. In 2005, only about 50 percent of our high school students graduated. Today, close to 80 percent of our high school students will graduate. And we have increased the percentage of graduates qualifying for a four-year TOPS college scholarship from 16 percent to 26 percent.

These gains are truly impressive.

But what about the large percentage of our high school graduates who are not yet ready to succeed at a four-year college? How are we preparing them for jobs that provide livable wages and career opportunities? Read More »

Student Enrollment Continues to Rise; Almost 80% at Charters

Educate Now! collected enrollment data for all New Orleans public schools. This unofficial October 1 student count shows:

Student enrollment is 42,198.

An increase of 2,321 students from last year and a 64% increase since 2006, the first full year after Katrina.

78% of New Orleans students now attend charter schools, up from 71% last year.

New Orleans Public Schools
October 1 Student Count (all students)

Year OPSB Direct-Run OPSB Charter OPSB
Direct and
RSD Direct-Run RSD Charter RSD
Direct and
Type 2
TOTAL % at Charter Schools
2004 65,349 N/A 65,349 N/A 261 261 762 66,372 2%
2006 2,904 6,246 9,150 8,619 7,200 15,819 682 25,651 55%
2007 2,630 7,089 9,719 11,608 10,040 21,648 782 32,149 56%
2008 2,806 7,402 10,208 12,724 12,177 24,901 846 35,955 57%
2009 2,773 7,606 10,379 11,933 14,821 26,754 918 38,051 61%
2010 2,790 7,797 10,587 8,779 19,433 28,212 1078 39,877 71%
2011 3,047 7,921 10,968 6,398 23,285 29,683 1,547 42,198 78%
Sources: Louisiana Department of Education for October 1, 2004 through October 1, 2010 enrollment. The October 1, 2011 enrollment is self-reported by the RSD, OPSB and individual charter schools. Note: This chart does not include the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy’s enrollment, since most of its students do not live in New Orleans.


Orleans Public School Enrollment Continues to Climb with Increase in Diversity and Charter Choice

The Louisiana Department of Education has released the student enrollment data for the 2010-11 school year.

The remarkable gains in student academic performance since 2005 are accompanied by a steady increase in student enrollment, from 35,995 students in 2008, and 38,051 in 2009, to 39,877 this year. 

The data reflect that the student population is more diverse, with the percentage of non-African American students growing from 6.6% before Katrina to 11.3% this year.

Additionally, the percentage of students attending charter schools increased sizably, from 61% last year to 71% this year.

The most significant takeaway from this data is that as student enrollment continues to increase, schools are slowly becoming more integrated and parents are overwhelmingly choosing charter schools.

Read More »

Evaluating New Orleans Charter Schools

Charter school performance has recently been the subject of a number of reports. Some of the highlights:

1.     A national study of 36 charter schools in 15 states showed that on average students who won lotteries to attend charter middle schools performed no better in math and reading than their peers who lost the lottery and enrolled in regular public schools. At the same time, this federally commissioned study showed that charter schools were more effective when serving low-income, lower-achieving students (especially in urban areas) than they were serving higher-income, higher-achieving students.

Read more about the study in Education Week magazine.
Read the Mathematica study “Evaluation of Charter School Impacts.”

2.     Last month, the same research firm, Mathematica, found that KIPP students, most of whom are poor and from a racial minority, outperformed their peers in regular public schools. Read more about Mathematica’s KIPP study.

Read More »