School & District Management

Study: Students in La. Private School Pilot Score Low

By The Associated Press — July 13, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A pilot plan backed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that uses state tax dollars so certain students can attend private schools is producing low test scores, a new study shows.

The pilot program stems from a 2008 state law that provided $10 million for up to 1,500 students in troubled New Orleans public schools to attend private or parochial schools. Backers call the tuition payments “scholarships” and a way out of dead-end public schools. Opponents call them “vouchers,” and public school leaders say they rob their schools of vital state aid.

The review was conducted by Leslie Jacobs of New Orleans, who served on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from 1996-2008, The Advocate reports. She was one of the most influential voices in public education circles, and a key leader of Louisiana’s latest push to improve public schools.

During the 2009-10 school year, 1,113 children from kindergarten through fourth grade took advantage of the tuition payments to attend one of 32 non-public schools taking part.

According to Jacobs’ study, 240 third- and fourth-graders were tested this year. Third-graders took iLEAP, which is a skills test, while fourth-graders took LEAP, which is designed to make sure students master basic skills before they move to the next grade.

No state tests are given to students in kindergarten, first- and second-grades.

Results show that fourth-graders getting state-paid tuition scored significantly below their counterparts attending public Recovery School District schools in English, math, science and social studies.

In English, 29 percent of students scored “basic” or above compared to 48 percent of RSD students. In math, 27 percent scored “basic” or above compared to 53 percent of RSD students.

Third-graders in the program also scored well below their RSD counterparts in English, math, science and social studies. In English, 35 percent scored “basic” or above compared to 49 percent of RSD students. In math, 28 percent of third-graders earned a rating of “basic” or above compared to 44 percent of RSD test takers.

“Parents should be given data on how those schools are doing,” Jacobs said.

The 2008 state law, she said, made no such requirement and parents assume the private schools are better.

Jacobs, a former New Orleans mayoral candidate, said schools also should be required to demonstrate improved academic performance to stay in the state program.

State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said it is too early to draw conclusions and that it is up to parents to decide whether the state’s scholarship/voucher program is right for their children.

Related Tags:

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
STEM Fusion: Empowering K-12 Education through Interdisciplinary Integration
Join our webinar to learn how integrating STEM with other subjects can revolutionize K-12 education & prepare students for the future.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Video 'Students Never Forget': Principals Call for Help After School Shootings
School leaders are lobbying Congress for more financial support for schools that experience gun violence.
2 min read
Forest High School students console one another after a school shooting at Forest High School Friday, April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Fla. One student shot another in the ankle at the high school and a suspect is in custody, authorities said Friday. The injured student was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Forest High School students console one another after a school shooting at Forest High School Friday, April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Fla. One student shot another in the ankle at the high school and a suspect is in custody, authorities said Friday. The injured student was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Doug Engle/Star-Banner via AP
School & District Management Opinion In School Leadership, Busy Is a Given. Chaos Is a Choice
There will never be enough time, money, or resources to solve every problem in education, so we must learn to operate within constraints.
Kate Hazarian
3 min read
Two hands attempt to hold chaos.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management How Sweltering Heat Disrupts Learning and What Schools Can Do
Extreme heat is becoming more common across the United States. Schools need to start preparing now.
5 min read
A boy cools off at a fountain during hot weather in Chicago, on June 16, 2024.
A boy cools off at a fountain during hot weather in Chicago, on June 16, 2024.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
School & District Management Opinion 'I Don't Know What to Do': Facing Today's Education Leadership Challenges
Here are three concrete steps for getting ahead of controversies and creating a supportive learning environment for every student.
Jennifer Perry Cheatham & Bonnie Lo
5 min read
A leader encourages a large group of people across a bridge made of pencils. Proactive leadership.
Raul Arias for Education Week