Baton Rouge, La. (June 9, 2014)—The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC), the state’s voice for educational choice, declared the 2014 Legislative session as a success for Louisiana children. The session saw bipartisan support for Louisiana’s Scholarship Program as it was renewed and strengthened, creation of a public school choice program and more options made available for Louisiana parents. Several bills that would have curtailed charters and Louisiana’s choice programs were fended off as legislators recognized the importance of offering educational options to parents.
“Louisiana’s education revolution is empowering parents, offering children with quality choices and creating positive outcomes,” said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children. “Louisiana legislators recognize that parents want choice, and we applaud the bipartisan members who are committed to ensuring Louisiana offers parents robust educational options.”
Summary of activity:
- HB1 – The Louisiana Scholarship Program was fully funded with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, providing 8,700 students the opportunity to escape failing and underperforming public schools to attend the private school of their parents’ choice for the 2014-15 school year.
- SB61—Louisiana’s Public School Choice bill, authored by Sen. Ben Nevers (D-Bogaulsa), passed with tremendous bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, which will allow students attending a D or F-rated public school to transfer to the A, B or C-ranked public school of their parents’ choice, provided the school has room for the student. Children will be able to benefit from this new law beginning this fall.
- HB780—Signed into law by Gov. Jindal, Friday morning, this bill passed with bipartisan support and will expand options for students already in the Louisiana Scholarship Program. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-Jefferson), will allow students who are currently participating in the Louisiana Scholarship Program to switch to the Tuition Donation Rebate Program, which will expand its capability by providing an alternative to current scholarship students who wish to transfer to a different school or who are continuing to a grade without any available seats in the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
- HB701 & HB192—Numerous attempts to curtail participation in the Louisiana Scholarship Program by special interests were quickly stopped. Among those bills were HB701 and HB192, both aimed at taking away parents’ right to choose the school that best fit their child.
In other positive news for Louisiana’s educational choice program, the LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) and iLEAP (Integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) scores were released in May, which demonstrated positive growth in test scores for children using the Louisiana Scholarship Program. These gains are especially significant, as public school scores remained flat.
Louisiana Scholarship Program Fast Facts:
- 92 percent of parents are happy with their child’s academic progress, and nearly all report their child feels both safe and welcome.
- Louisiana’s scholarship program is the strongest and most transparent of any similar program in the nation.
- According to a 2012-13 study, 91 percent of participants in the Louisiana Scholarship Program were minority, and 86 percent are African-American.
The Louisiana Federation for Children is a state project of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice.