The Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans is the best school district in the country, according to the Brookings Institution.Brookings released its latest Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) today, which ranks many of the U.S.’s school districts based on thirteen categories.
“The ECCI provides a snapshot of the quality of education choice and competition within the geographical areas served by large school districts and allows for comparisons of choice and competition policies and practices across districts,” the report notes.
The RSD was miles ahead of its competitors, much to the surprise of those who thought that Hurricane Katrina would hinder the local education system for decades. It was the only district to receive an A ranking, with New York City a distant second at B+.
New Orleans’ education system used to be much worse. In 2003, the Lousiana Department of Education passed special legislation that formed the RSD in order to “take underperforming schools and transform them into successful places for children to learn.” The process was so successful, that after Hurricane Katrina the RSD strategy was implemented in schools throughout New Orleans.
The ECCI lauded the recovery district for the “high availability of choice in the RSD, with over 80% of schools being alternatives to traditional public schools including charters, a good supply of affordable private schools and tax credits available for private school attendance.” The district also boasts free transportation costs.
It even assigns students to schools based on the algorithms that were devised by 2012 Nobel Prize winners Alvin Roth and Lloyd SHapley, creating “assignments that result in the smallest possible mathematical difference between the expressed choices and assignments over the whole population of parents exercising choice.”
This is a snapshot of the top 30, but check out Brookings interactive graph and map to see how your school district scored:
Photo: Brookings ECCI 2012
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