Louisiana Scholarship Program continues to show academic growth and allows the State’s most at-risk students to attend the school of their parents’ choice
New Orleans (Nov. 3, 2014) – The Louisiana Federation for Children and the Black Alliance for Educational Options today released a memo outlining the results of a new report from the state of Louisiana. The annual scholarship report from the Louisiana Department of Education found that the Scholarship Program continues to successfully empower parents to choose educational options best suited for their child, scholarships children are making academic gains, and accountability standards are working — ensuring children attend high-quality schools.
“Parents are choosing the Louisiana Scholarship Program because it works and it provides access to a high-quality education in a safe and secure learning environment,” said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children. “Today’s report boasts academic gains for children who were previously trapped in underperforming schools and holds scholarship schools to highest standard.” The Louisiana’s Scholarship Program remains popular among parents and is proven to save taxpayers money while demonstrating improved academic performance by students and providing higher quality results.
“We are very pleased with the overall performance of children in the Louisiana Scholarship Program. The results released today provide clear evidence that the program is working, and we applaud the hard work of teachers, school leaders, parents, and students that made them possible,” said Kenneth Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. “We still have a long way to go, but the improvements we are seeing over time in the scholarship program provides strong evidence that empowering low-income and working-class parents to choose the best education for their children is paying huge benefits in Louisiana.”
From: Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children
Ken Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options
To: Interested Parties
RE: Louisiana Scholarship Program Annual Report
Date: Nov. 3, 2014
In the 2013-14 school year, the Louisiana Scholarship Program empowered nearly 7,000 of the state’s most at-risk students to attend the school of their parents’ choice. Eighty-nine percent of Scholarship Program participants are minority students and nearly 3,000 or 43.2 percent, received scholarships for the first time. Of students entering the Scholarship Program from public school for the first time, 70.7 percent previously attended a D or F public school.
Students participating in the Louisiana Scholarship Program are required to take the same assessments as Louisiana public school students. Participating schools are held accountable for Scholarship student academic performance.
This year’s report shows that the percentage of Scholarship Program students scoring Basic or above on the LEAP and iLEAP rose 2.4 percentage points, from 41.6 percent in 2012-2013 to 44 percent in 2013-2014. This progress continues a long-term trend of improvement. Between 2010 and 2014, the percentage of students in the program scoring Basic or above has improved from 31 percent to 44 percent.
Families participating in the Scholarship Program report overwhelming satisfaction with their schools and the quality of education their children are receiving. In January – March 2014, the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the Louisiana Federation for Children conducted a direct mail survey to evaluate the level of parental satisfaction with the Louisiana Scholarship Program. The survey included 1,779 families representing 112 of the 126 participating schools.
- 91.9% of parents surveyed said they are happy with their child’s Scholarship school.
- 91.7% of parents surveyed said happy with their child’s academic performance.
- 98.7% of parents indicated that their child feels safe in his or her Scholarship school.
- 98.0% of parents said they and their child feels welcome at his or her Scholarship school.
Strong Parental Demand
Each year, participation in the Scholarship Program grows. In the 2013-2014 school year, 11,916 students applied for scholarships and 71.5 percent (8,515 students) received awards. Enrollment in the Scholarship Program has grown from 640 students in 2008-2009 to 6,778 in 2013-2014.
Tikisha Kelly, whose child attends St. Benedict the Moor School in New Orleans, views the program as a lifeline.
“The Scholarship Program has given my children the opportunity to receive an excellent education from a great school,” said Kelly. “Thanks to the program, my children have a great starting point for success. The program has truly given me the option to choose.”
New Orleans parents Gerald and Shemane Prosper says the Louisiana Scholarship Program gives parents a safe choice of where they can send their children. Please view video story on the Prosper family.
Scholarship Cohort Index
Scholarship schools with an average of 10 or more scholarship students per grade served or a total of at least forty students enrolled in tested grades receive a Scholarship Cohort Index (SCI). In 2013-14, 28 Scholarship Program schools received an SCI.
The SCI is calculated in a similar manner to the School Performance Score (SPS) calculated annually for public schools. However, it is important to note that the SCI is based solely on the performance of students participating in the Scholarship Program rather than the school’s entire student population.
These accountability measures, combined with the increasingly rigorous expectations on state assessments, will help to ensure that the quality of the Scholarship Program continues to grow each year. Parents are using accountability data to make informed decisions when choosing their children’s school.
SCI Progress Points
Of schools that received an SCI, 54% of Scholarship schools received Progress Points in 2013-14, a 15% increase from 2012-2013. This shows that more Scholarship schools are making progress with their most at-risk students. By comparison, 46 percent of D and F public schools received Progress Points.
The Scholarship Program has strong policies in place to ensure the proper use of public funds. Payment to Louisiana Scholarship schools is variable and is based on the tuition and fees charged to each non-Scholarship student at a given school. Scholarship awards do not exceed the per pupil Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) amount for the student’s home parish, ensuring that payments do not exceed the cost to send a child to public school. Schools with tuition and fees at or above two-thirds of the per pupil MFP for the district in which the school is located are only allowed to receive a five percent annual increase in payment. The average Scholarship award in 2013-2014 was $5,311.
|Average Cost to send a Scholarship student to a C, D, or F public school||
|Average Cost to send a Scholarship student to a Scholarship school||
|Average Cost savings per student to Louisiana Taxpayers||
|2013-2014 TOTAL SAVINGS||
The Louisiana Federation for Children and the Black Alliance for Educational Options support the Louisiana Scholarship Program because it provides low-income and working class families access to high-quality educational options that they otherwise would not have.
The Louisiana Federation for Children, a project of the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice, is dedicated to promoting educational choice by protecting, growing and expanding scholarship programs for low and middle-income children.
The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is the only Black-led organization focused exclusively on representing the interests of low-income and working class Black families in the education reform and parental choice movement in the U.S.