State education officials say more than 4,900 students from poorly performing public schools have taken advantage of the state's newly expanded voucher program, which uses government money to pay private school tuition.
The figure was released Thursday. The state said 14 percent of students using vouchers came from public schools that earned a C in the state's school accountability program; most — 69 percent — were from schools that made a D; 17 percent were from schools considered failing.
A count of how many Louisiana students are enrolled in private and parochial schools through the taxpayer-funded voucher program will be available next week.
Barry Landry, a spokesman for the Department of Education, says schools participating in the program have until Sunday to report their enrollment numbers of voucher students. Landry says the department will release the figures after the numbers are verified.
A parochial school parent recently asked me if it’s too late to transfer their child to a voucher school. After going through the labyrinth of enrollment rules, I asked, “Why do you want to transfer?” The parent replied, “I don’t know if my daughter is learning.”
Louisiana didn’t become 41st in the nation on average ACT score because of public school performance alone. Public schools can’t take all the blame for why Louisiana keeps looking up at its peers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Particularly in New Orleans, where 30 percent of the students attend private and parochial schools, the quality of this sector is critical to our city’s vitality.
Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana's new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and question evolution, challenging the lessons central to public school science classrooms.
Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.