NSNO Releases Comprehensive Report on 10 Years of Public Education in New Orleans

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"10 Years in New Orleans: Public School Resurgence and the Path Ahead" assesses the city's academic progress post-Hurricane Katrina.

New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) announces the release of "10 Years in New Orleans: Public School Resurgence and the Path Ahead." The report explores the way governance, schools, educators, equity, communities, and funders have shaped the education landscape since 2005, and provides a nuanced assessment of public education 10 years post-Hurricane Katrina.

“ACT scores and graduation rates are up, more kids are going to college, and we are on our way to eliminating failing schools. The academic gains we’ve seen along with the physical rebuilding of our schools is unprecedented—never has a city improved its education system so much, so quickly,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “That is not to say our new system is anywhere close to perfect. There is still a long way to go for us to realize our vision for the future. Now, more than any other generation, the pathway to prosperity goes directly through the schoolhouse doors.”

New Orleans has the only school district in the country that is almost entirely composed of public charter schools. Though there were a few charters in the city prior to 2005, their growth expanded significantly post-Hurricane Katrina as New Orleans saw the slow return of families and educators and began to rebuild. The shift to a predominately charter school system redefined government’s role in education; now, the focus is on holding schools accountable for equity and academic progress rather than running them directly.

“NSNO’s report is a wealth of information for anyone looking to better understand the intricacies of public education in New Orleans,” said Patrick Dobard, Superintendent of the Recovery School District. “It is an essential examination of what went well, what could have gone better, and how to grapple with the challenges that remain.”

"10 Years in New Orleans" combines data, research, and stakeholder interviews to track the impact of this new system on students citywide. The report addresses everything from how changes in governance have spurred major academic gains in the city, to the role of veteran New Orleans educators in the new system, to how special education has changed in the past decade. Readers can expect to find information about student performance on state tests, suspension and expulsion rates, and centralized enrollment processes. The report wrestles with remaining challenges such as creating a sustainable source of great teachers in a growing school system and increasing community ownership within a new governance structure.

“We hope this report serves as a helpful resource for those looking to learn about New Orleans’ unique education system, and stands as a testament to the incredible work of educators, students, and their families to improve schools in our city,” said Maggie Runyan-Shefa, Co-CEO of NSNO.


New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 whose mission is to deliver on the promise of excellent public schools for every child in New Orleans. To achieve this mission, NSNO drives change in three ways: 1) we invest in the launch or expansion of high-performing open-enrollment public charter schools, 2) we help schools become more effective by providing them with direct support to help accelerate academic improvements, and 3) we coordinate solutions to citywide challenges to remove barriers to academic excellence.

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Josh McCarty
New Schools for New Orleans
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