Drop Out Rate Cut by 60% Since Katrina

The annual drop out rate1 for New Orleans public schools (OPSB + RSD) has plummeted 60% since Katrina, falling from 11.4% in 2004-05 to 4.1% in 2010-11.

At current enrollment, this translates into 900 fewer dropouts per year.

We Continue to Close the Gap!

New Orleans’ drop out rate is now down to the state average. In 2004-05, we had the state’s third highest drop out rate. Continue reading

2012 K-8 Test Scores Released

The K-8 student test scores for Louisiana were released today, and New Orleans continues to improve.

Test Score Highlights 

  • For the 6th year in a row, student performance is up.
  • Growth was less robust this year. While the RSD outperformed the state, for the first time since Katrina, OPSB did not.
  • New Orleans Combined (OPSB +RSD) tied the state with a 2 point gain in the percentage of students Basic or above.
  • New Orleans students performed better than last year in all four subjects (English, Math, Science and Social Studies).
  • We reduced the percentage of students performing in the lowest category (Unsatisfactory).
  • We increased the percentage of students performing above grade level (Mastery and Advanced). Continue reading

More New Orleans Graduates College and Career Ready

One of the key goals of K-12 education is to give our students the educational foundation they need to be college or career ready. In Louisiana, we have a good benchmark to measure this preparedness – what percent of our students qualify for TOPS, a program that provides two- and four-year merit-based scholarships to Louisiana public colleges and universities.

Educate Now! recently reviewed the TOPS data, and New Orleans continues to close the gap.

  • The percent of Orleans Parish public school students eligible for TOPS scholarships (two- or four-year) has grown from 24.9% in 2005 to 37.2% for last year’s graduates – a gain of 12.3 percentage points.
  • During this same time, the state average grew only 5.2 percentage points, from 37.3% in 2005 to 42.5% in 2011. Continue reading

A Cause for Hope

As we struggle to build a better future for our youth, it is important that we take time to recognize the large and small successes that transpire in our schools every day.

Just this past week, two of our open-admissions high schools have given us reason to celebrate. Sci Academy held a Senior Signing Day to honor the accomplishments of its first graduating senior class. Over 94% of their 55 graduates were accepted to a 4-year college. And Lake Area New Tech Early College High School reported that 100% of their 125 graduates were accepted to either a 2 or 4-year college. Continue reading

A Call to Action: Amend the School Choice Bill

Dear Legislator:

Over the next two weeks, you will be asked to vote for the Choice Bill (HB 976 and SB 597), which will make over 350,000 public school students eligible for vouchers. Done well, it can change lives, giving students trapped in failing schools better educational opportunities and improving education statewide. Done poorly, it will waste taxpayer money and financially strain local school districts.

So, let’s pass a good bill – one that will use our tax dollars to provide a better education for public school students. As it currently stands, the bill has two key flaws that you can easily fix.

First, the current bill fails to protect against fraud or mismanagement of tax dollars. 

Continue reading

Schools More Diverse; High Poverty Stays the Same

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

  • New Orleans continues its steady increase in enrollment, growing from 39,877 students last year to 42,030 this year.
  • The student population continues to diversify, with the percentage of non-African American students growing to 13.7% this year, up from 11.3% last year and 6.6% before Katrina.
  • The percentage of students attending charter schools increased sizably, from 71% last year to 77.5% this year
  • The percent of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch has remained fairly constant – 83.5% – and is more than 16 percentage points higher than the state average.

View student enrollment for OPSB and RSD by year and by sub-group (white, black, free, reduced).

View the Oct 1 student enrollment by school.

For more information on children in New Orleans, read this report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It includes demographic and socio-economic data as well as information on educational achievement.


Historic Gains in Four-Year High School Graduation Rate

The Louisiana Department of Education recently released cohort graduation rates for all Louisiana schools. The cohort graduation rate looks at the 4-year graduation rate of students who started high school in 2007.

  • The state’s rate increased to 70.9%.
  • OPSB’s graduation rate of 93.5% is #1 in the state.
  • RSD New Orleans improved its cohort graduation rate by 15.3% and is #11 out of 70 districts for most improved.

Read the DOE press release
View cohort graduation rates for New Orleans high schools [xls]


2011 Scores are In — New Orleans is #1 in Growth!

Since 2005, New Orleans has improved more than
any other school district in Louisiana.

District Performance Highlights

Educate Now! calculates that the combined DPS for New Orleans should be around 82.4. This means that New Orleans has grown a stunning 25.5 points – 49% – between 2005 and 2011!

#1 in Growth Since 2005
District Performance Score = All students, all grades, all tests

The 2011 combined DPS for New Orleans was calculated by Educate Now!

Continue reading

End of Course Tests

What are End of Course Tests (EOCs)?

Louisiana is phasing out the Graduation Exit Exam (GEE) and replacing it with specific End of Course tests, or EOCs.

There are six EOC exams. Beginning with the freshman class of 2010-11, students must pass at least three of the tests to graduate:

  • English II or English III
  • Algebra I or Geometry
  • Biology or American History

Like the GEE, if a student does not pass the test on their first attempt, they have other opportunities to take the test.

Last year, the state tested students in Algebra I, English II, and Geometry. Tests for Biology, English III and American History will be phased in over the next two years.

The Louisiana Department of Education recently released the 2010-11 End of Course test results for Algebra I, English II and Geometry. Educate Now! analyzed student performance for New Orleans schools, focusing specifically on Algebra I and English II.

How did our students do?

Algebra I: New Orleans (all OPSB and RSD schools) outperformed many other school districts, posting its highest ranking relative to other school districts on any state administered test- ever! Continue reading

Closing the Gap

New Orleans students are closing the achievement gap!

Some of the most persistent achievement gaps in New Orleans – between black and white, the poor and the well-off, those with and without special needs – are shrinking, and at a pace that is much faster than ever before.

  • This year, for the first time since Louisiana began keeping track, African-American students in New Orleans performed better than African-American students statewide.

  • New Orleans’ poor students and students with disabilities are also rapidly closing the performance gap compared to state performance.

According to The Education Trust, a national organization whose mission is to close achievement gaps, “This is really meaningful progress.” Continue reading