Orleans Public Education Network equips and inspires the people to support Black and low-income children through excellent public education and equitable public policy.


Education Policy & Advocacy Communications

Commentary, resources and local events on the latest developments in educational justice.

• OPEN Conversations

• Legislative Recap 2018

Data Collection & Analysis

Measuring and reporting on the outcomes of the #nolaed "experiment."

The Early Development Instrument

• The New Orleans Equity Index

Policy Development Training

Building local leadership pipelines through civic capacity training, professional development, and program incubation.

The Family Leadership Training Institute

• The Louisiana Education Policy Fellowship Program


What Does OPEN Do?

Orleans Public Education Network equips and inspires the people to support Black and low-income children in public schools through policy training, advocacy, and civic action.

We believe in supporting kids by enhancing the capacity of the adults in their lives — so when they go to the ballot box, the city council or school board meeting, they have the skills and information to effectively go to bat for children, and ensure systems are accountable, transparent and represent community priorities in public school matters.

OPEN’s work includes producing accessible self-advocacy and civic education programs, gathering and unpacking high-quality data, and working with school systems to adopt policy that reflects community priorities. The work’s ultimate goal is an education system that brings people, data, and lived experience into policy and practice.

Where Did OPEN Come From?
In 2007, an array of community-based organizations came together to envision a sustainable and effective education reform movement. Over a year-long discussion, one theme continually emerged: the need for a deep and abiding connection between the public and its school system. In 2009, almost four years into New Orleans’ post-Katrina education reforms, Orleans Public Education Network was formally chartered as a platform and conduit for citizen voice in public education.
What Are OPEN's Focus Issues?
Though OPEN has a defined early childhood and a K-12 equity platform, we also work on an array of systemic issues that promote equity and justice for populations that have traditionally been denied both of those things.

Our concerns are not primarily about the data points found in education — which are usually about numbers — but about the entire experience that informs those numbers.

We focus on addressing the inputs, attitudes and behaviors that subtly inform racial, gender and socioeconomic inequities in public education and beyond.
Does OPEN Advocate for Individual Students?

OPEN's programs work with adults — including system-level actors, parents, teachers, faith leaders, policymakers and more — as the primary change drivers for child wellbeing. As an organization, we directly advocate for systemic measures that push forward population-level improvement in life outcomes.

Does OPEN Support Charter Schools?
OPEN fundamentally believes in the right of the people to educate their children, and in the democratic principles of community-based decision-making, representation, and public will. Essentially, we support the interests of Black and low-income students in public systems, which means we are not fundamentally in support or opposed to charter schools as an ideology. However, chartered schools by their nature have ample opportunity to exclude or ignore public input: that is why OPEN lobbies for absolute transparency, parent representation, and intentionally equitable policy.

That being said, we will never hesitate to recognize schools, charter or not, that are doing right by children — as seen in the yearly Orleans Public Education Awards, which routinely honors many charter schools achieving for NOLA kids.