The high school landscape in New Orleans is very different now than it was pre-Katrina, but it is still possible to make valid comparisons between 2005 and 2010 to determine how education reform is affecting our high school students.
There are critics who claim that New Orleans high school students are no better off, and may be even worse off, than they were before Katrina. This is not correct.
Without a doubt:
1. High Schools Are Better
In 2005, 67% of high school students (grades 9-12) attended a failing high school. In 2010, this percentage dropped to 36%* – a huge improvement!
2. More Students Are Performing Basic or Above:
In 2005, only 40% of students scored Basic or above on the English section of the Graduation Exit Exam (GEE), compared to 52% this year. Math gains are even more impressive, with a 21 point gain: 39% in 2005 to 60% in 2010.
3. Senior Graduation Rates Are Up:
In 2005, only 79% of seniors graduated. This year, 90% of seniors graduated – an 11 point jump.
Our high schools are far from perfect, but the improvements in school and student performance provide a basis for optimism.
* This is an estimate based on 2010 test scores. See below for more details.