Evidence-Informed Policy: Looking at Post-Katrina New Orleans Schools

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In the past few weeks as the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approached, a veritable gale of first-hand observations and research reports swept through the media about improvements in New Orleans public schools. In reading those reports, however, researchers and pundits have warred with one another over the degree to which the Orleans Parish schools have improved over the past decade.

A revolution had occurred, say some researchers and politicians (see here and here) Others say no. Changes have surely occurred with nearly all schools being charters but these top-down changes have created a fragmented system, minimized citizen participation and spent more private and public money than Orleans Parish had ever seen (see here  and here). Moreover, student test scores have dramatically improved, say researchers and policymakers (see here and here) No, others reply, results are mixed and some students had even been overlooked (see here

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