The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC), the state’s voice for educational choice; along with the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), a national organization advocating for parental choice on behalf of low-income and working-class families; and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS), the only statewide entity dedicated to advocating for charter schools at both the state and local levels; announced a statewide tour to celebrate educational choice in Louisiana during National School Choice Week, January 24 – 30, 2016.
National School Choice Week, held every January, aims to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for every child. The goal of the week is to raise public awareness of all types of education options for children, including public charter schools, traditional public schools, scholarship schools, online schools, and homeschooling.
National School Choice Week events will take place in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Metairie and New Orleans.
For the 2015-2016 school year, more than 78,000 students enrolled in charter schools and school choice programs, including the Louisiana Scholarship Program, Tuition Donation Rebate Program, and the School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities. In addition, more than 19,000 students enrolled in courses through the Louisiana Course Choice Program.
“We are excited to join parents, educators and elected officials to celebrate the wide range of school choice options available to Louisiana families,” said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children.
“Parent choice is key to making sure that all children in Louisiana have access to a high quality education that meets their unique needs. We look forward to partnering with schools and families across the state to celebrate and mark the importance of this choice,” said Caroline Roemer, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.
“Parental choice is an essential hallmark of our democracy, but for too many Black families in our state, especially from low-income and working-class backgrounds, choosing the best high-quality educational option for their children is often limited and difficult to come by,” said Louisiana BAEO state director Stacy Martin. “That’s why Louisiana BAEO is pleased to stand with our partners to showcase great schools that are working well for our children and are models of excellence for communities across the state.”
A majority of Louisiana voters support school choice. A 2015 LAPCS survey of registered voters showed 62 percent supporting charter schools. A 2015 BAEO survey of Black voters in the state indicated strong across the board support for choice programs – 78 percent supported parental choice, 66 percent approved of charter schools and 63 percent favored vouchers/scholarships.
School Choice in Louisiana
- Charter schools are tuition free public schools that provide choice to parents and families. Louisiana is home to 139 charter schools across the state in 21 parishes, with more than 70,000 students enrolled.
- The Louisiana Scholarship Program provides parents with the financial resources to send their child to the school of their choice. 7,110 low-income students enrolled in participating schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
- The Tuition Donation Rebate Program empowers low-income Louisiana families with the financial resources to choose the school that will best prepare their children for college and careers. This program provides rebates to Louisiana taxpayers that donate to School Tuition Organizations, tax-exempt, not-for-profit organizations. In 2015-2016, the program enrolled 776 students in 106 participating schools.
- The School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities provides families of eligible students with tuition assistance to attend approved schools that offer exceptional needs programs. The program currently serves 342 students.
- Louisiana Course Choice provides families and students the ability to select from hundreds of online and face-to-face courses not traditionally offered by high schools and middle schools. During the 2014-2015 school year, students enrolled in 19,068 courses through Course Choice.