New Orleans Schools Four Years After Katrina: A Lingering Federal Responsibility


Report Material

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News Coverage

New Orleans schools' recovery depends on increased federal involvement, report says. The Times-Picayune. (2009).

Recovery of New Orleans Schools Depends on Increased Involvement, Report Says. Philanthropy News Digest. (2009).

Related Research

Education after Katrina. Southern Education Foundation. (2007).

Boisseau, Kathy. This Isn't the American I Know: A Mother's Story about Her Son's Education After Katrina. Southern Education Foundation. (2007).

Morgan, Angela. Not the Kids' Fault-at all.: A Mother's Story about Her Children's Education after Hurricane Katrina. Southern Education Foundation. (2007).

Suggested Citation

Suitts, Steve. New Orleans Schools Four Years After Katrina: A Lingering Federal Responsibility. Southern Education Foundation. (2009).


2009 -The report finds that K-12 students in New Orleans have made significant achievement gains in recent years but that this progress is in jeopardy unless the federal government fulfills its “lingering responsibility” to help rebuild the city’s public schools destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

New Orleans Schools Four Years after Katrina: A Lingering Federal Responsibility documents how New Orleans public schoolchildren have made “truly remarkable” gains in state test scores, especially during the last two years—in some cases advancing the number of passing students by almost 20 percentage points. But, the report warns that these improvements are “unsustainable” if the federal government does not assist in financing nearly a billion dollars to complete the rebuilding of the local public schools.

The report also examines:

  • New Orleans schools’ increasing struggles from existing debt incurred before Hurricane Katrina and from the financial challenges of rebuilding devastated schools.

  • The changing educational landscape of New Orleans schools, with data on per pupil funding, instructional costs, and student achievement by select and open admissions charter and public schools.

  • The special need for improving parental involvement from families in poverty.

SEF’s report concludes that “it is time for the federal government to fully restore the infrastructure of public education in New Orleans so that the city’s students, parents, teachers, and community members can continue to find within themselves the best ways to accelerate and sustain the progress that schools and students have made so far against the odds.”

Download the report.

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