School Choice & Charters

State of the States 2003: Louisiana

April 09, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Louisiana

Private Schools Would be Tested
Under Gov. Foster’s Voucher Plan

Gov. Mike Foster outlined two proposals to build on Louisiana’s accountability system during his annual address to the legislature: a pilot voucher program and state management of low-performing schools.

State of the States

The voucher initiative would target students who attend low-performing public schools. It would require participating private schools over time to take part in state tests and receive school performance scores as public schools do. But the private schools would not face other portions of the state accountability system.

“In education, let’s talk about some things that are going to cause a little stir,” said Mr. Foster, a Republican who is in the last year of his two terms in office. “I can’t imagine how you or I can leave this session and say we don’t have a plan for failing schools.”

The idea of roping private schools into even a portion of the accountability system, however, has spurred opposition from some private school leaders in the state, especially from Roman Catholic schools, who support an alternative voucher plan now before the legislature and which would not mandate testing.

Meanwhile, some public education groups, such as the Louisiana School Boards Association, have said they will strongly resist any voucher plans.

Gov. Foster said that if a school has performed poorly over time despite efforts to help the school, other options ought to be considered. “Vouchers are one way out of that,” he said in the March 31 speech.

Idea for Intervention

The governor also put forward another idea: state management of low-performing schools through the creation of a so-called Recovery School District to be operated by the Louisiana education department. Under the plan, state management would occur for a limited time.

“If you’ve got a better idea, have at it,” Mr. Foster challenged lawmakers. “I think we’ll have committed a sin if we leave here and we leave youngsters in failing schools where they cannot get out.”

He also proposed a modest package of measures to help address school discipline, including increased public awareness of laws already on the books and suspending or delaying driver’s licenses for students with discipline problems.

Mr. Foster spent considerable time in his speech promoting the need to protect school aid, and he pointed to what he believes were some of the results of the state’s prior spending on schools, as well as its accountability system, such as improved test scores.

“Continued investments in education and economic development, particularly, will continue to bring our citizens into the mainstream of full productivity,” he argued.

In February, the governor put forward a budget request for fiscal 2004 that would provide a slight increase in K-12 education spending, raising it from $2.69 billion this year to $2.73 billion, a hike of 1.5 percent.

Analysts say it will be a difficult budget year, though, because Louisiana, like many states, is facing a budget shortfall. Recent estimates place it at least $500 million, out of a budget of about $16 billion.

Related Tags:

Events

Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
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
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls
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
School & District Management Webinar
Modernizing Principal Support: The Road to More Connected and Effective Leaders
When principals are better equipped to lead, support, and maintain high levels of teaching and learning, outcomes for students are improved.
Content provided by BetterLesson

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 Choice & Charters Mich. Public School Advocates Launch Effort to Stop DeVos-Backed Proposal
The former secretary of education is backing an initiative that advocates say would create an unconstitutional voucher system.
Samuel J. Robinson, mlive.com
4 min read
Student with backpack.
surasaki/iStock/Getty
School Choice & Charters The Pandemic Pushed More Families to Home School. Many Are Sticking With It
These parents have a common desire to take control of their children's education at a time when control feels elusive for so many people.
Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times
6 min read
Karen Mozian homeschools her sixth-grade son, Elijah, age 9, at their home in Redondo Beach, California on Jan. 13, 2022. Mozian says her son wasn't getting the kind of help he needed at school. On his study breaks, he enjoys skateboarding and practicing drums.
Karen Mozian homeschools her 6th grade son, Elijah, age 9, at their home in Redondo Beach, California on Jan. 13, 2022. Mozian says her son wasn't getting the kind of help he needed at school. On his study breaks, he enjoys skateboarding and practicing drums.
Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via TNS
School Choice & Charters Bloomberg Launches $750 Million Fund to Grow Charter Schools Amid 'Broken' K-12 System
Former New York City mayor and one-time presidential hopeful Michael R. Bloomberg aims to add 150,000 charter school seats over five years.
5 min read
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, second from left, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, far left, meeting with senior students at the Bedford Academy High School in New York on Dec. 3, 2013. Bloomberg campaigned on gaining control of the nation's largest public school system. left his mark by championing charter schools, expanding school choice, giving schools letter grades, and replacing scores of struggling institutions with clusters of small schools.
Then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, second from left, and former Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, far left, meet with senior students at Bedford Academy High School in New York in 2013.
Bebeto Matthews/AP
School Choice & Charters Opinion The Kind of School Reform That Parents Actually Want
Parents' inclination to focus on solving specific problems rather than system change helps explain the appetite for novel school options.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty