New Orleans Public Schools, the city's school district, was one of the area's largest school districts before Hurricane Katrina. It was widely recognized as the lowest performing school district in Louisiana. According to researchers Carl L. Bankston and Stephen J. Caldas, only 12 of the 103 school districts in New Orleans showed reasonably good performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took over most of the schools within the system (all schools that fell into a nominal "worst-performing" metric); about 20 new charter schools have also been started since the storm, educating about 15,000 students.
The Greater New Orleans area has approximately 200 parochial schools. The prevalence of parochial schools has been both a cause and a consequence of the troubles in the public schools. Because so many middle class students have been enrolled in non-public schools, middle class support for public education has been relatively weak. At the same time, the apparent low quality of public schools in New Orleans has encouraged middle class families to educate their children in private or parochial schools. This has contributed to major underfunding of the public school system.
Colleges and universities
Several institutions of higher education also exist within the city, including University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Medical School, and Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Other schools include Delgado Community College, University of Phoenix, Culinary Institute of New Orleans, Herzing College, Commonwealth University, Notre Dame Seminary, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
There are numerous academic and public libraries and archives in New Orleans, including Monroe Library at Loyola University, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University, the Law Library of Louisiana, and Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans.
The New Orleans Public Library includes 13 locations, most of which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The main library includes a Louisiana Division housing city archives and special collections.