Are New Orleans voters satisfied with public school reforms?

June 12, 2014 2:30 PM

New Wave staff

The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University released the results of its fifth poll since 2009 to gauge opinions about public education in New Orleans. 

“We think this poll is timely since this year marks a critical threshold for public education in New Orleans, as the Recovery School District, the state agency charged with transforming failing schools, closed the last of its direct-run schools in New Orleans,” says Jonah Evans, policy director at the Cowen Institute.

“Advocates argue the reforms are a complete success; other claim complete failure. This poll suggests New Orleans voters have a nuanced view.”

The May 2014 poll surveyed likely voters — those who voted in at least four of the last 10 elections or registered to vote in Orleans Parish since the November 2012 election. 

Respondents answered questions about their general satisfaction with public education and opinions on taxes, governance, school choice, common standards and tests, and college and career readiness.

The poll respondents:

• Are twice as likely to say schools are improving than getting worse

• Will pay to support school facilities

• Agree that new school operators should restart schools that earn a “D” rating year after year

• Think Recovery School District (RSD) schools that are no longer failing should be able to chose whether to return to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB)

• Think school choice has a positive impact on the quality of public education in New Orleans

• Are dissatisfied with the ability of the city’s high schools to prepare students for college or the job market

Forty-five percent of respondents said New Orleans public schools are getting better, 25 percent said schools are “about the same” and 18 percent said they are getting worse. Slightly less than half said they would recommend a public school to a family member or friend.

A full copy of the survey report is available online.  

The Cowen Institute is an action-oriented research and advocacy organization that informs and advances solutions to eliminate the challenges impeding the success of K–12 education in New Orleans and beyond. The institute’s work is in applied research, policy, college and career readiness, and reconnecting “opportunity youth.”


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000