Voucher Program in Trouble

Voucher Program Faltering: Accountability and Performance Standards Needed

Educate Now! analyzed student test scores from voucher schools and compared them to New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) schools. We found that for the second year in a row, students participating in the voucher program performed worse than students in the RSD!


Comparing 3rd, 4th and 5th graders

  • Statewide:  75% performed on grade level (Basic or above)
  • RSD schools: 49% performed on grade level
  • Voucher schools: Only 38% performed on grade level

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Senior Graduation Rate Rises Again

Since 2005, the percent of seniors graduating has risen from 79% to 94% –
15 point increase!

In the spring of 2005, the last year all of the schools were under the Orleans Parish School Board, only 79% of New Orleans seniors graduated. We tied Madison Parish for the worst record in the state.

This year 94% of seniors graduated – a 4 percentage point increase from 2010 and 15 points from 2005.

What does this mean in real terms? This improvement since 2005 means that an additional 333 of our 2,218 seniors were able to walk across the stage, receive their diploma and celebrate their success. Continue reading

2011 test scores are in, and we rock! …. Again!!

Great News!

Student performance showed robust improvement for the 4th consecutive year.

  • Significantly more students passed the high-stakes LEAP tests
  • In cumulative gains (over four years) the RSD is again #1, and OPSB is #4
  • More students met the State proficiency goal of Basic or above
  • 8th grade performance soared

Educate Now! analyzed the test scores of all schools under the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and the Recovery School District (RSD), both traditional and charter, to assess the performance of public school students in Orleans Parish.

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Special Education Revisited

Who is Educating Students with Disabilities, and How Are They Doing?

In New Orleans public schools, students with special needs now represent 9.1% of the overall student population. If every school enrolled a proportionate share, students with disabilities would represent 9.1% of each school’s student body. But that is not the case.

Recovery School District (RSD) schools are serving a much larger share of special needs students than are OPSB schools.

District % of Student
RSD (direct-run and charter) 10.2%
OPSB (direct-run and charter) 6.7%

RSD charters exceed the city average in their percentage of students with disabilities. Continue reading

New Orleans Dropout Rate Plummets 31%

Schools doing a much better job keeping kids in school!

The dropout rate[1] for New Orleans public school 9th-12th graders (RSD and OPSB, charters and direct-run) fell 31% from 2008-09 to 2009-10, dropping from 8.3% to 5.7%.

Since 2005, New Orleans dropout rate has been cut in half.

Pre-Katrina, New Orleans had one of the worst dropout rates in Louisiana, and Louisiana had one of the worst dropout rates in the nation. In 2004-05, 11.4% of the city’s public high school students dropped out.

Since 2005, both New Orleans and Louisiana have improved, but New Orleans is improving at a much faster rate than the state.  The New Orleans dropout rate has fallen 50%, while the state’s rate has dropped 27%.

Translation:  More teens in school

Put in real terms, this improvement means over 300 more students stayed in school in Continue reading

News Alert: School Performance Scores are Out

New Orleans Schools Show Great Improvement

The Louisiana Department of Education has just released the 2010 School Performance Scores (SPS) and District Performance Scores (DPS).

So, how did New Orleans schools do in 2010?

 1.  The percentage of failing schools continues to decline. Continue reading

Myth 5: RSD Charters are not serving students with disabilities

Fact:  RSD charters are serving lots of students with disabilities and working to improve these services.

In the 2009-10 school year, the 36 RSD charters enrolled 1,228 students with disabilities, falling just short of enrolling their “fair share” of special needs children by 76 students. Continue reading

Myth 4: If a school kept its name, it must be the same.

Fact:  For many schools, only the name is the same.

Comparing the performance of individual New Orleans public schools with the same name pre- and post-Katrina is not a valid analysis.

Why? We shuffled the deck.

Schools with the same name may:

  • be in a different location
  • have different grade configurations
  • no longer serve the surrounding neighborhood
  • have different admission requirements Continue reading

Myth 3: Student test scores were improving before the storm at the same rate they are now.

Fact:  Since the state takeover, student improvement has more than doubled!

Educate Now! compared the percent of students Basic or above in math and English on the 4th and 8th grade LEAP and the 10th grade GEE tests for 2000, 2005 and 2010.* (For other grades the state changed the tests, so we can’t compare pre- and post-storm numbers.)

  • From 2000 to 2005, the percent of students scoring Basic or above increased from 30% to 37%, a gain of 7 points.

  • From 2005 to 2010, the percent of students scoring Basic or above increased from 37% to 53%, a gain of 16 points! Continue reading