The Data Center Releases Reports Focusing On Social Entrepreneurism And Public Schools

NEW ORLEANS – Today, The Data Center released the eighth and ninth essays in a series of reports on changes post-Katrina.

         “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur Post-Katrina,” is contributed by Andrea Chen of Propeller and Linda Usdin, DrPH of Swamplilly.

         For all the tragedies that came with Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, the ten years since have provided opportunities for social innovation and change. The report finds New Orleans is now growing many of the factors that promote social entrepreneurship, including favorable policies, reduced barriers to entry, access to capital and expertise and a developing ecosystem of support. Increased civic confidence provides fuel for continued growth. If these efforts can demonstrate significant impact, they will have contributed in important ways towards making metro New Orleans’ economy inclusive and creative, the report states.

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         “The Transformation of the New Orleans Public Schools: Addressing System-Level Problems without a System,” is contributed by Andre Perry of The Hechinger Report, Douglas Harris and Christian Buerger of the Education Research Alliance at Tulane University, and Vicki Mack of The Data Center.

         Pre-Katrina, New Orleans had the next-to-lowest ranked public school district, in the next-to-lowest rank state. Of the various systemic reforms in New Orleans, public education can claim the most dramatic before-and-after Katrina picture, the report finds. The traditional public school district not only got a makeover (New Orleans received a $1.8 billion FEMA grant to build or renovate schools); these reforms also dramatically changed who teaches, how students enroll, who’s accountable and the funding schools received. No city can claim to have reformed their public schools with as much depth and breadth as New Orleans, the report finds.

         As reported in the essay, the results have been quantifiably positive, but there were consequences in school discipline, enrollment, special education and teacher recruitment. The report examines how New Orleans’ decentralized, charter district has worked to address system-level problems, and it examines why some problems, like the inability to recruit and retain local, effective teachers, will remain a difficult one to solve without a system-level solution.

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         Read “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur Post-Katrina" here


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         Read “The Transformation of the New Orleans Public Schools: Addressing System-Level Problems without a System” here




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