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Study finds New Orleans public schools fail to equally educate all students

Loyola press release - May 24, 2010

New Orleans’ multi-tiered system of public schools fails to equally educate poor children and children of color, a study commissioned by the Loyola University New Orleans Institute of Quality and Equity in Education finds.

“The State of Public Schools In Post-Katrina New Orleans: The Challenge of Creating Equal Opportunity,” conducted by the University of Minnesota Law School's Institute on Race and Poverty, examined school performance among public state- and city-run charter and traditional schools and found that in this system, students of color are much more likely to attend low-performing schools than their white counterparts.

In 2009 in New Orleans, the IRP study found:

  • Approximately one third of all schools were integrated.
  • 78 percent of black students were still in segregated settings, and nearly half of Hispanic students and other students of color attended segregated schools.
  • The average poverty rate in non-white schools (68 percent) was twice the poverty rate (34 percent) of predominantly white schools.

The study cites student selection and recruitment strategies; school location choice; discipline and expulsion policies; and the city’s racial and economic segregation for steering minority students into high-poverty, lower-performing schools. The IRP found that Orleans Parish Public Schools' traditional and charter schools attracted the easiest-to-educate students in the city, while Louisiana’s Recovery School District’s traditional schools were seen as “schools of last resort.”

This objective research is vitally important to parents, advocates and administrators, said College of Social Sciences Dean and Institute Director Luis Miròn, Ph.D.

“While New Orleans’ experiment in public education fundamentally affects our city’s students and parents, it is also potentially a model for the rest of the United States,” Miròn said. “That is why it was vitally important for us to study the issue, share the data and hope that it helps our education leaders make solid, evidence-driven decisions.”

To view the full report, visit http://bit.ly/bHxcjy.

Housed in the CSS, the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education links local and nationally-recognized researchers with school policymakers to pursue research on policy issues that affect how public schools in New Orleans serve children of color and diverse economic backgrounds as well as those with special needs.

For more information on the institute, contact Alex Hancock at 504-865-2782 or ajhancoc@loyno.edu or visit http://www.loyno.edu/iqee/about-us.html.

The University of Minnesota Law School's Institute on Race & Poverty investigates ways that policies and practices disproportionately affect people of color and the disadvantaged and works to ensure that people have equal access to opportunity. For more information on the IRP, visit http://www.irpumn.org/.