School choice in Louisiana
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|School choice state information|
- 1 Educational choice options
- 2 Studies and reports
- 3 School choice ballot measures
- 4 Recent news
- 5 See also
- 6 References
School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.
School choice options in Louisiana include: charter schools, school vouchers, school choice tax credits, intra-district and inter-district enrollment policies and online learning programs. In addition, about 16.31 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.
Educational choice options
- See also: Charter schools in Louisiana
- Type 1: New schools, which are authorized by local school boards
- Type 1B: New schools, which are authorized by a local charter authorizer
- Type 2: New or conversion schools, which are authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Type 3: Conversion schools, which are authorized by local school boards
- Type 3B: A former type 5 charter school that transfers from the Recovery School District back to the local school district
- Type 4: New or conversion schools, which are authorized by both local school boards and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Type 5: Recovery School District schools, which are authorized by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there were 105 charter schools operating in Louisiana in the 2012-13 academic year. During that time, charter schools enrolled 49,484 students.
Charter school authorizers are, according to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the organizations "designated to approve, monitor, renew, and, if necessary, close charter schools." As of June 2014, the organizations in the following table were listed by NACSA as charter school authorizers in Louisiana:
|Louisiana charter school authorizers|
|Organization||Authorizer type||Number of schools overseen|
|Avoyelles Parish School Board||Local education agency||1|
|East Baton Rouge Parish School District||Local education agency||7|
|East Feliciana Public Schools||Local education agency||1|
|Jefferson Parish Public Schools||Local education agency||3|
|Lafayette Parish School Board||Local education agency||2|
|Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education||State education agency||82|
|Orleans Parish School District||Local education agency||14|
|Union Parish School Board||Local education agency||1|
| Note: If the total number of charter schools accounted for in this table differs from the total number listed elsewhere on this page, the discrepancy owes to differing calculation methods and data sources.|
Source: National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Louisiana Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014
Magnet schools, sometimes called theme-based schools, are public schools of choice that use a specialized subject area or innovative learning approach to attract students from more diverse backgrounds. In fact, magnet schools began as a way to desegregate public schools through choice rather than force. Magnet schools can reach beyond the barriers of school districts, but they are still managed and funded publicly by local districts, even though they are centered around specialized themes and subjects.
In the 2011-2012 school year, there were 2,949 magnet schools in the United States. In that year, Louisiana had 84 magnet schools that served 49,756 students. Approximately 69 percent of students enrolled in Louisiana magnet schools were classified as a minority. That percentage of students was predominately African American. This was higher than Louisiana's average of 55 percent minority enrollment. The state also reported an average student:teacher ratio of 14:1 in magnet schools, which is the same as the state average in traditional public schools. The table below lists this information again and compares it to Louisiana's neighboring states.
|Magnet school participation, 2011-2012|
|State||Magnet schools in the state||Students in magnet schools||Minority enrollment percentage||Student:teacher ratio|
|Source: Public School Review, "Public School Review state magnet school pages," accessed December 12, 2014|
The state sponsors two school voucher programs:
- School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities: Under this program, students with special needs who live in certain eligible parishes may be given vouchers to attend schools of their parents' choosing that provide educational services targeted to the students' needs.
- Louisiana Scholarship Program: Under this program, low-income students in low-performing schools may be eligible for vouchers that can be used to pay for private school tuition.
The state offers two school choice tax credits:
- Tuition Donation Rebate Program: State taxpayers can receive tax rebates for donations made to School Tuition Organizations (STOs), which are nonprofit organizations that grant private school scholarships.
- Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction: The state allows individuals to deduct educational expenses (including private school and university-led "lab school" tuition and fees) from their income taxes.
According to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, there are two fully virtual charter schools in Louisiana. In addition, there are district-specific programs that provide both supplemental and full-time online learning programs. The state-led virtual school, the Louisiana Virtual School, ceased operations at the close of the 2012-13 academic year.
In the 2011-12 school year, 114,537 students, or 16.31 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 359 private schools. Louisiana ranks fourth highest in the nation in private school attendance.
Public school open enrollment
According to the Education Commission of the States, Louisiana has both intra-district and inter-district mandatory policies, as well as an intra-district voluntary policy. Under an intra-district enrollment policy, a student may transfer to another school within his or her home district. Under an inter-district enrollment policy, a student may transfer to another school within his or her home district or to a school in another district. Under mandatory policies, school districts are required to participate in transfers, while districts may choose whether to participate under voluntary policies.
In Louisiana in 2012-2013 an estimated 21,422 students, or 2.67 percent of the total student-aged population, were homeschooled.
A summary of the state's laws relating to homeschooling can be accessed here.
Studies and reports
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
In 2014 the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice published a description of and commentary on school choice options in the United States. Regarding the Louisiana Scholarship Program, the foundation said, "Louisiana’s expanded voucher program greatly improved student eligibility, making it available to more than one-third of students statewide. The program is also strong on funding, as voucher amounts potentially can equal what students in public schools receive. Unfortunately, the program falls short by imposing strict regulations on participating schools. Schools must use an 'open admissions process,' ceding control of their admissions processes. Additionally, private schools must administer the state’s standardized test, and the Louisiana Department of Education is required to create an accountability system for participating private schools. The program could improve by not linking eligibility to public schools’ performance. Also, parents should determine what tests their children take in private school."
The full report can be accessed here.
School choice ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Louisiana.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Louisiana + Education + Choice"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Louisiana state budget and finances
- Louisiana Department of Education
- Louisiana school districts
- Charter schools in Louisiana
- Education policy in the U.S.
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "School Choice and Charters," accessed June 18, 2014
- Friedman Foundation for School Choice, "What is School Choice?" accessed June 18, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Louisiana Charter Schools At-a-Glance," accessed June 20, 2014
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Schools - Louisiana," accessed June 20, 2014
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Students - Louisiana," accessed June 20, 2014
- National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Louisiana Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014
- Public School Review, "What is a magnet school?" accessed December 9, 2014
- Magnet Schools of America, "What are magnet schools?" accessed December 9, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Selected statistics from the common core of data: School year 2011-2012," accessed December 12, 2014
- Public School Review, "Louisiana magnet schools," accessed December 12, 2014
- The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "Louisiana - School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities," accessed June 20, 2014
- The Friedman Foundation, "Louisiana - Louisiana Scholarship Program," accessed June 20, 2014
- The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "Louisiana - Tuition Donation Rebate Program," accessed June 20, 2014
- The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "Louisiana - Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction," accessed June 20, 2014
- Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, "Louisiana," accessed June 20, 2014
- U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Private School Universe Survey (PSS)", 2011-12 ; "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey, v.1a.," accessed May 12, 2014
- Education Commission of the States, "Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed June 20, 2014
- A2Z Home's Cool, "Number of Homeschoolers in the USA," updated February 2, 2014
- The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice - 2014 Edition," accessed June 18, 2014
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