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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.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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