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Featured Policy Brief: "Did the Teachers Dismissed after Hurricane Katrina Return to Public Education?"

May 31, 2017

A study from the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University examines whether the 4,332 teachers dismissed after Hurricane Katrina returned to public school employment in Louisiana. The dismissed cohort included 71% black teachers and 78% female teachers and had more than 15 years of average teaching experience.

The study’s authors find that approx­i­mate­ly 50% of these dis­missed teach­ers returned to work in admin­is­tra­tive, teach­ing, or oth­er posi­tions in the state’s pub­licly fund­ed schools by fall 2007. New Orleans schools re-employed 32% of the cohort, while 18% were re-employed in oth­er Louisiana parish­es. By 2013, only 37% of the orig­i­nal pre-Kat­ri­na cohort was employed in Louisiana pub­lic schools. Researchers also com­pared the 2007 employ­ment rate for New Orleans pre-Kat­ri­na teach­ers to teach­ers with sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics from oth­er parish­es that were affect­ed by hur­ri­canes Kat­ri­na and Rita but did not expe­ri­ence mass dis­missal or school reform. Our best esti­mate is that the com­bined effects of dis­missal and reform, sep­a­rate from the hur­ri­cane effect, reduced the 2007 edu­ca­tion employ­ment of pre-Kat­ri­na New Orleans teach­ers by at least 16 per­cent­age points,” said lead author Jane Arnold Lin­cove. The dis­missal of the entire New Orleans pub­lic school teacher work­force has had a last­ing impact on these teach­ers, their fam­i­lies, and the com­mu­ni­ty,” said author Nathan Bar­rett. This study con­tributes to the pub­lic dis­course on New Orleans’ school reforms by help­ing us under­stand not only the scale of this dis­missal but also the edu­ca­tion­al employ­ment out­comes of those dis­missed.” The study was authored by Jane Arnold Lin­cove from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land – Bal­ti­more Coun­ty, Nathan Bar­rett from Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty, and Katharine O. Strunk from the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The Edu­ca­tion Research Alliance for New Orleans released a study ear­li­er this month that ana­lyzed changes in New Orleans teach­ers’ learn­ing and work envi­ron­ments using sur­veys of teach­ers from the dis­missed cohort who returned to teach in the city’s pub­licly fund­ed schools.