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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The Money Myth


The Money Myth is the belief that the RSD in New Orleans receives significantly more public money to educate its students than other districts do.  Not true.


Jack Loup, president of the St. Tammany Parish School Board, said State Superintendent Pastorek directs about $13,000 per student to RSD schools in New Orleans, compared to $5,900 per student in the St. Tammany school system.


New Orleans RSD schools receive less state funding per pupil than St. Tammany Parish schools. New Orleans RSD direct-run schools receive $4,342 per pupil. St. Tammany schools receive $5,289.


New Orleans RSD schools receive less state funding per pupil than the state average. New Orleans RSD direct-run schools receive $4,342 per pupil. The state average is $4,999.

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

Spring 2009 Graduation Rates

The Senior Graduation Rate Rises in New Orleans

A valuable measurement of a high school’s performance is the percentage of its seniors that graduate.

Prompted by the recent Times-Picayune profile of the tremendous improvement in the senior graduation rate at John McDonogh High School (click here to view article), Educate Now wanted to see how the seniors in all New Orleans high schools fared.

Historically, New Orleans has done a dismal job helping its seniors cross the finish line. In fact, in spring 2005, the last year all the schools were under the Orleans Parish School Board, only 79% of New Orleans seniors graduated, tying Madison Parish for the worst record in the state. Thus, for every 100 seniors, 21 did not get to walk across the stage and receive a diploma.

(click here for the 2005 state report)

So how did we do this year?  89% of New Orleans seniors graduated – a gain of 10 percentage points. This is good news for New Orleans and even better news for the 2,030 students who now can proudly say they are high school graduates. (See the chart below for graduation rates by school.) Continue reading

2009 Spring Test Results

Great News: Performance Soars!

The recently released 2009 Test Scores are great news for New Orleans. Across the city, student achievement improved dramatically.

These gains are truly significant and show the reforms underway are working.

  • New Orleans improved more than the state across all grades and subjects.
  • New Orleans showed real growth in the percentage of students passing the promotional high-stakes LEAP and GEE tests.
  • Significantly more students met the state proficiency goal of Basic or Above.

This edition of Leslie’s Notebook will focus on the high stakes tests – 4th and 8th grade English and Math LEAP tests, along with the Graduation Exit Exam – to highlight the tremendous improvement both this year and since the state took over the schools in 2006.

These results include all schools under the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District, both traditional and charter.

Continue reading

2008 School Performance Scores


The recently released School Performance Scores give us the first clear picture of how schools in New Orleans are performing since Katrina.

Student test scores are used for three different measurements: student performance, school performance, and district performance.  In May, the state releases the test scores and gives information on individual student performance: how many passed the LEAP test, did scores go up, etc. This month, the state issued both School and District Performance Scores.

School Performance Scores (SPS) analyze the test data at the school level allowing us to compare one school’s performance to another. A District Performance Score takes the student test data for all students in the district to evaluate district performance.

For a listing of schools and scores go to: School Scores

So How Do We Compare Post-Katrina?

Schools are better

Fewer are failing. The percentage of schools that are one star or higher (non-failing) has increased from 34% to 55%. Continue reading