The Data Center: The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur Post-Katrina

As the anniversary quickly approaches, we’re doubling down on our efforts to bring you the most comprehensive assessment of the progress of reforms and remaining challenges post-Katrina.
Today, The Data Center is releasing the eighth and ninth in a series of reports we are calling The New Orleans Index at Ten Collection.
The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur Post-Katrina is contributed by Andrea Chen of Propeller and Linda Usdin of Swamplilly, LLC.
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. 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 Transformation of 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 traditional public school district not only got a makeover ($1.8 billion for school buildings). The reforms also dramatically changed who teaches, how students enroll, who’s accountable, and the funding schools receive. No city can claim to have reformed their public schools with as much depth and breadth as New Orleans.
As reported in this essay, the results have been quantifiably positive. Still, there were consequences in school discipline, enrollment, special education, and teacher recruitment. This report examines how New Orleans’ decentralized, charter district has worked to address system-level problems, and it examines why some problems like recruiting and retaining teachers will remain difficult to solve without a system-level solution.
To learn more, check out The New Orleans Index at Ten Collection – The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur Post-Katrina and The Transformation of New Orleans Public Schools at:
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