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Public supports charters, more taxes for schools in Cowen Institute report

May 31, 2018 1:45 PM


Keith Brannon

The Cowen Institute at Tulane University released the 2018 Perceptions of Public Education in New Orleans, an annual poll that assesses and reports public opinions about the city’s unique education environment.


Almost 61 percent of New Orleans residents think charter schools have improved public education in the city, but many still give the system a “C” grade overall, according to a new poll by The Cowen Institute at Tulane University.

The 2018 Perceptions of Public Education in New Orleans assesses public opinions about the city’s unique education environment. The annual poll features responses from 700 residents, including 450 parents of public and private school students.

The poll found the strongest support for charter schools among parents of public school children. Almost 70 percent of public school parents believe charter schools have improved education, compared to only 50 percent of those without children.

As for quality, 43 percent of respondents gave schools a “C” letter grade, while 22 percent gave the system a “B” and 2 percent an “A.” Roughly 18 percent rated the system a “D” in quality and 5 percent gave a failing grade. Almost 41 percent think the quality of education in the city is staying the same while 39 percent feel it is improving.

This year’s poll examines the upcoming unification of Recovery School District and Orleans Parish School Board schools. Overall, familiarity with the unification process has increased by nearly 10 percent since 2017, and there has been a slight increase in opinions about its success.  Approximately 55 percent of respondents continue to back the city’s open enrollment policy.

The poll also has a broadened focus on post-secondary success and finds that 81 percent of respondents support increasing taxes to support higher education and 67 percent believe that a four-year college education prepares students for success in the current economy. Further, 90 percent of respondents believe all students should receive some career and technical education and 91 percent support the inclusion of such programs in public schools, demonstrating overwhelming support for a connection between education and career skills.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York provided support for this year’s report.