Public education in Louisiana
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 See also
- 14 External links
- 15 Additional reading
- 16 References
The Louisiana Department of Education is helmed by the Superintendent of Education, who is appointed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The current Superintendent of Education is John White.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is the administrative body governing the state's public elementary and secondary schools as well as some non-public schools. The board is composed of 11 members, eight of whom are elected by district and three of whom are appointed by the Governor to represent the state at-large. Members serve four-year terms.
The mission statement of BESE reads:
|“||The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall provide leadership and create policies for education that expand opportunities for children, empower families and communities, and advance Louisiana in an increasingly competitive global market.||”|
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Louisiana State Board of Education adopted the standards on July 1, 2010. Full implementation took place during the 2013-2014 academic year.
In June 2014, Governor Bobby Jindal made an executive order that would effectively, albeit indirectly, withdraw Louisiana from Common Core. The order required competitive bidding for education standards tests. Because the Common Core testing program is among the most expensive of these tests, it is unlikely that the tests could be purchased is a competitive bidding process. Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White, however, insisted that the state would continue with Common Core. White said, "The state will continue to implement the Common Core Standards [...] this is a long term plan we have been working on for four years and committed to another 10 years of implementation. We are not willing to subject our children to last minute changes to throw our system into educational chaos."
| Education policy in the U.S. |
| Higher education by state |
| School choice in the U.S. |
| Education statistics |
|State Education Information|
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
- See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Louisiana compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Louisiana as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Louisiana's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||427||0.06%||0.42%|
|Two or more||8,225||1.17%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Louisiana attend rural schools. Approximately 55 percent of the state's students attend rural or town schools, compared to approximately 45 percent who attend city or suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi), Louisiana tied with Mississippi for the lowest percentage of fourth grade students who scored at or above proficient in math.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Louisiana was higher than the national average at 3.9 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 5.7 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Louisiana
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.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Louisiana state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 18.4 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is up 3.20 percentage points, or 21.1 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 15.2 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Louisiana totaled approximately $8.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Louisiana and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Louisiana totaled approximately $8.4 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Louisiana and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Louisiana, the average salary increased by 13.6 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Louisiana ranked 42nd overall, or "weakest," which was in the fifth of five tiers.
The main unions related to the Louisiana school system are the Louisiana Association of Educators (LEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT). LEA is the largest education association in the state. For the 2003 tax period LEA had: $3.6 million in total revenue, $3.2 million in total expenses and $3.7 million in total assets. For the same period, LFT had: $1.8 million in total revenue, $2.4 million in total expenses and $826,009 in total assets.
List of local Louisiana school unions:
- Louisiana Association of Educators
- Louisiana Federation of Teachers
- American Federation of Teachers (New Orleans)
- American Federation of Teachers (Baton Rouge)
- American Federation of Teachers (Metairie)
- American Federation of Teachers (Slidell)
- American Federation of Teachers (Shreveport)
- Caddo Association of Educators
- American Federation of Teachers (Monroe)
- See also: Louisiana government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Louisiana School Boards Association.
On November 12, 2008 Louisiana launched a spending transparency database, Louisiana Transparency and Accountability (La TRAC). La TRAC contains all executive branch spending for the state of Louisiana, including higher education. It also includes a vendor search, as well as a link to performance evaluations for state agencies (through La PAS).
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Louisiana received a score of 69.9, or a C- average in the "chance for success" category. This was below the national average. The state's highest score was in "standards, assessments and accountability" at 97.2, or an A average. The lowest score was in "K-12 achievement" at 59.8, or a D- average. Louisiana had the second highest score in the country in the "standards, assessments and accountability" category. The chart below displays the scores of Louisiana and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Louisiana||69.9 (C-)||59.8 (D-)||97.2 (A)||79.6 (B-)||74.9 (C)||92.9 (A)|
|Alabama||72.0 (C-)||62.2 (D-)||92.2 (A-)||74.8 (C)||71.1 (C-)||85.7 (B)|
|Arkansas||71.8 (C-)||66.7 (D+)||94.4 (A)||88.0 (B+)||74.1 (C)||96.4 (A)|
|Mississippi||68.9 (D+)||57.1 (F)||92.8 (A)||66.5 (D)||64.9 (D)||75.0 (C)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
Most of Louisiana's school districts are called "parish school boards." There are also a select number of city school districts that were each established by special act and constitutional amendment. Those are Baker, Bogalusa, Central, Monroe and Zachary Community School District, Louisiana.
- See also: List of school districts in Louisiana
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
School board composition
The composition of school boards in Louisiana varies widely; they can have anywhere from seven to 15 members. Each local school board is responsible for establishing its own size, policies and procedures. They generally serve four-year terms, with elections occurring in even-numbered years.
Act 386 of the 2012 legislative session provided for an election in every school district, with limited exceptions*, on November 6, 2012, to determine whether the members of the local school board in each district shall have term limits. In the November election of 2012, term limits were approved by voters in every school district in which the measure was on the ballot.
- Act 386 did not apply to the Recovery School District (which is operated by the DOE and has no board), the governing authority of any charter school and the school boards of Lafayette Parish and Jefferson Parish (which already had term limits in effect).
There are no Louisiana school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment holding regular general elections in 2015. However, three districts will hold special elections for a total of four seats, one up for primary election in March and three in October. Louisiana school board elections require a majority of 50 percent plus one for a candidate to win. If a candidate garners this majority in what is called the primary election, no general election is held. If no candidate receives the majority of votes, a general election is held and functions as a runoff election.
Here are several quick facts about Louisiana's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is St. Tammany Parish Public Schools with 37,513 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Orleans Parish School Board with 13,707 K-12 students.
- St. Tammany Parish Public Schools has the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for special election.
- Orleans Parish School Board and Tangipahoa Parish School System tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with one seat up for special election each.
The districts served a total of 71,054 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district name for more information on the district and its school board elections.
|2015 Louisiana School Board Elections|
|District||Date||Seats up for election||Total board seats||Student enrollment|
|St. Tammany Parish Public Schools: District 12||3/28/2015||1||15||37,513|
|Orleans Parish School Board: District 1||10/24/2015||1||7||13,707|
|St. Tammany Parish Public Schools: District 14||10/24/2015||1||15||37,513|
|Tangipahoa Parish School System: District G||10/24/2015||1||9||19,834|
Path to the ballot
In order to become a candidate for a school board in Louisiana, the Louisiana Secretary of State outlines the following:
|“||By the date of qualification, the candidate shall have attained the age of 18, resided in Louisiana for the preceding 2 years, and have been actually domiciled for the preceding year in the parish, ward, or district from which the candidate seeks election. The candidate shall be able to read and write. At the next regular election following reapportionment an elector may qualify in any district created in whole or in part from a district existing prior to reapportionment if he was domiciled in the prior district for at least 1 year immediately preceding his qualification and was a resident of Louisiana for the 2 years preceding his qualification. If elected must change domicile to district before being sworn in. No person elected to serve as a member of a school board for more than two and one-half terms in three consecutive terms, such service being during terms that began on or after January 1, 2014, shall be elected for the succeeding term.||”|
—Louisiana Secretary of State, (2013)
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Louisiana Appointment to the Board of Regents Guidelines, Amendment 2 (1998)
- Louisiana Appropriations for Education, Amendment 7 (Oct 1999)
- Louisiana Central Community School System Act, Amendment 8 (2006)
- Louisiana Colleges to Acquire Stock, Amendment 8 (October 1990)
- Louisiana Education Act, Ballot Measure 4 (Oct 2003)
- Louisiana Endowed Funds of Colleges and Universities Act, Amendment 10 (September 2006)
- Louisiana Higher Education to Invest in Stock, Amendment 8 (2002)
- Louisiana Lottery Proceeds for Education Act, Ballot Measure 9 (Oct 2003)
- Louisiana Name of Board of Trustees of University of Louisiana System, Amendment 1 (1998)
- Louisiana Postsecondary Education Board of Trustees Amendment (2015)
- Louisiana Public Tuition Increases Amendment (2015)
- Louisiana Rapides Parish School Grant, Amendment 9 (Oct 1999)
- Louisiana School Board Financial Burden Prohibition, Amendment 9 (September 2006)
- Louisiana Zachary School System, Amendment 3 (1999)
- Louisiana state budget and finances
- Louisiana Department of Education
- List of school districts in Louisiana
- School choice in Louisiana
- Charter schools in Louisiana
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)
- Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Louisiana Virtual School
- Louisiana Charter School Association
- Louisiana Middle School Association
- The Advocate, "School chief: Seek aid," September 2, 2009
- The Town Talk, "Louisiana civil service panel approves 6 new education posts," August 8, 2009
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Meet John White," accessed May 19, 2014
- Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, "Structure," accessed May 19, 2014
- Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, "Vision, Mission, Philosophy, Goals," accessed May 19, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- Louisiana Department of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
- Fox News, "Jindal order would make Louisiana latest state to pull out of Common Core," June 18, 2014
- The Times-Picayune, "Gov. Bobby Jindal's attempt to scuttle Common Core leaves Louisiana education system in confusion," June 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Louisiana Association of Educators," accessed September 1, 2009
- Center for Union Facts, "Louisiana Federation of Teachers," accessed September 1, 2009
- Center for Union Facts, "Louisiana teachers unions," accessed September 1, 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- United States Census Bureau, "Louisiana," accessed July 11, 2014
- Louisiana State Legislature, "Powers and Duties of School Boards and Parish Superintendents," accessed July 11, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "HB 292 - School Board Member Term Limits - Key Vote," accessed July 11, 2014
- The Town Talk, "Another View: Term limits for Louisiana school board members could boost interest," October 27, 2012
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Qualifications of Candidates," June, 2013
State of Louisiana
Baton Rouge (capital)
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