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Research Areas

The New Orleans school system is different from any other. At Education Research Alliance we try to understand how student outcomes are influenced by the system’s key features: the OneApp and open school choice, charter school providers, the new teachers and leaders, and the intensive test-based accountability. Other studies focus on how the system works as a whole, plus topics such as school finance, early childhood education, and college access.

Outcomes and Equity

Our work focuses on the effects of the school reforms on a variety of student outcomes and on different groups of students, especially traditionally under-served populations.

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Teachers and Leaders

Teachers and leaders are the core of any school system and the post-Katrina school reforms dramatically reshaped the New Orleans’ educator workforce. Our research tries to understand who the teachers and leaders are and how state and local education policies influence their practices.

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Charter Schools

New Orleans is more reliant on Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) than any other city in the country. Here, charters ARE the system. Our research agenda tries to understand CMO policies and practices and how these shape the options available to families in New Orleans.

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School Choice

New Orleans is the only city in the country that has essentially eliminated attendance zones that determine who enrolls where. Our research focuses on the city’s OneApp system of school choice, how this shapes the school system, and what the system tells us about what families are looking for.

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Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the New Orleans school system is that low-performing schools have been regularly closed or taken over by the state Recovery School District (RSD). We study how these decisions are made and the influence of those decisions on students.

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Additional Topics

The core parts of the New Orleans school system—choice, charters, educators, and test-based accountability—are all interconnected. We study how the system works as a whole to increase student outcomes, as well as other parts of the system that receive less attention, such as school finance, early childhood education, and college access.

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Early Childhood Education

We’ve established the New Orleans Early Education Research Alliance (NOEERA), a partnership with representatives from the ERA-New Orleans, the Orleans Parish School Board, and the New Orleans Early Education Network, to help improve student outcomes in New Orleans by identifying factors that enable families to access their desired preschool programs.

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