Myths About New Orleans Schools

Myth 1: New Orleans schools weren’t that bad before the storm.

Fact:  New Orleans battled it out with St. Helena Parish for the lowest performing district in one of the lowest performing states in the country.


In 2004-05, 66% of New Orleans public schools were failing
(School Performance Score (SPS) below 60)

In the 04-05 school year (the last year for which we have data pre-Katrina), there were 126 schools in the Orleans Parish school district. Eight were alternative/special ed schools that didn’t receive rankings for 04-05, so we won’t count those. Of the remaining 118 schools, 78 had an SPS below 60.


What did that mean for our children? In 2004-05, over 38,000 students, 66% of all students enrolled in Orleans Parish Public Schools, attended a failing school.

New Orleans was a district in Academic Crisis – defined by state law as a district with:

  • At least 30 failing schools (schools with an SPS below 60) – New Orleans had 78.
  • Or at least 50% of students attending a failing school – New Orleans had 66%.

The children of New Orleans were not being served by the Orleans Parish School Board in August 2005.


View Report of 2004-2005 OPSB Student Enrollment and School Performance.


Louisiana DOE Student Data as of October 1, 2004 By Site (Grades K-12 only)
Louisiana Department of Education Fall 2005 School Report Cards-Detailed School-Level Tables