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Era New Orleans draws attention from local media

December 17, 2014

Organization receives $3.5 million grant from Tulane University.

Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty has announced a com­pre­hen­sive study on pub­lic edu­ca­tion reform that’s tak­en hold in New Orleans after Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na. The plan is to share what has been learned in the rad­i­cal­ly over­hauled school system.

The Tulane group is called the Edu­ca­tion Research Alliance of New Orleans. And it has got $3.5 mil­lion and 12 staffers to dis­sect what has hap­pened in city pub­lic schools since the storm.

Inde­pen­dent char­ter schools are abun­dant, giv­ing fam­i­lies more choic­es. The teach­ing staff has been over­hauled. Test scores are up. But what does that all real­ly mean?

Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor Dou­glas Har­ris is in charge of the research.

There are oth­er out­comes that we wor­ry about,” he said. We’re real­ly inter­est­ed, ulti­mate­ly, in how stu­dents do in the long term, so look­ing at some­thing like col­lege out­comes is ulti­mate­ly going to be more per­sua­sive about the effects of the reforms.” 

He says his staff is get­ting help from oth­er researchers across the country.

I get calls all the time from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and Detroit and St. Louis and oth­er even small­er cities that are say­ing We want to do New Orleans,” Har­ris said. We want to do what you did. How do we do it? And what’s work­ing and what’s not work­ing?’ And so we owe it, I think, to the city to have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of what’s going on, but we also now owe it now to the coun­try, and to even oth­er coun­tries that are fol­low­ing what’s going on here.” 

The first of sev­er­al reports will be released in Jan­u­ary, focus­ing on how par­ents select­ed a school before and after Katrina.

Sup­port for edu­ca­tion report­ing on WWNO comes from Bap­tist Com­mu­ni­ty Min­istries and Enter­gy Corporation.