More info on Gov. Jindal’s so-called “education reform” measures:
Of Louisiana’s 700,000 public school students back in class, 7,000, 1 percent, are attending private or church schools on state-funded vouchers. The proportion suggests that for all the commotion, from the Legislature to the courts, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s scholarship program will do neither much good nor much harm to the great mass of schoolchildren.
True, with applications exceeding available slots this year, the program is set to grow, if gradually. But bigger, faster moves are coming — critics call them moves on public dollars — which will dwarf the effect of vouchers. The 45,000 students in charter schools (publicly funded but independently operated) number six times those on vouchers, with a potentially big spurt in growth next year. The same law that expanded vouchers caused the Department of Education to receive 26 new charter school applications, up from five last year. The change in law allows groups in school districts rated D or F, nearly 40 percent statewide, to apply directly to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, instead of first having to ask and usually get rejected by their local school boards, which stand to lose state and local education dollars with each new charter school approval.
Outside of New Orleans, charter schools have shown mixed results in 14 other parishes, but, overall, they have done no worse than have school boards in failing districts.
Fortunately, BESE and the Department of Education have been more rigorous in judging charter applications than those for schools seeking voucher students. They tend to reject more new charter applications than they approve, often favoring those using out-of-state operators with track records and financial stability over well-meaning local organizations, which lack experience and resources. They need to stay that course on charter schools and get with it on vouchers.
You can read the rest of the story online here.