Post-Katrina NOLA College Graduation Rates Rise

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago, at least educationally, life has changed in New Orleans, arguably for the better.

“Sweeping education reforms introduced in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina have dramatically lifted students’ chances of finishing high school and entering college, according to a new policy brief released this week by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans,” Kevin Mahnken writes. “Even more striking, the new policies appear to have narrowed large gaps in educational attainment between advantaged and disadvantaged students.”

Doug Harris, ERA’s director, and Matthew Larsen, an economics professor at Lafayette College wrote the report. “The researchers find that the changes boosted the rate of immediate college entry for New Orleans students by 15 percentage points,” Mahnken writes. “College persistence (the rate at which students remain in college for two or more years) grew by seven points, while college graduation shot up five points.”