Louisiana Education Superintendent John White proposes plan to honor scholarships of wait-listed students
The Louisiana Federation for Children, the state’s voice for educational choice, commends Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White for his plan that would remove all of the 362 students on the Louisiana Scholarship Program waiting list, and allow them to enroll in the private school of their choice.
Superintendent White’s plan would allow schools to enroll students on the waiting list if the schools agree in writing to accept a potential “worst-case scenario” of a nominal payment from the state of less than $100 per child for the year. In the spring, White said he will request that the Legislature analyze the number of additional students enrolled by participating schools and commit appropriate and full funding.
Louisiana Federation for Children President Ann Duplessis says Superintendent White’s proposal provides a viable solution for hundreds of families whose scholarship awards were not honored after Governor John Bel Edwards chose not to fully fund the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
“This is what happens when you try to balance a budget on the backs of children,” Duplessis said. “Cutting this program does not save the state money. It merely shifts the expense of educating a child from a school of their parents’ choice into a traditional school that’s currently not serving that child.”
With schools opening across the state, parents with children on the waiting list have had to frantically search for other school options. Glynis Johnson told The Advocate that losing the scholarship award would mean her granddaughter would have to return to the public school where she was “picked on a lot.”
“Now she is having anxiety about going back to that school,” Johnson said. “It was not a good experience.”
“The priorities of families must always win out over political expediency,” Duplessis added.
“We must continue to hold Gov. Edwards to his promise to not undermine parental choice. We intend to remain committed to serving the thousands of students currently in the program, the tens of thousands who want into the program, and will do our best to help the families who have become the victims of this unnecessary political fight.”
Created in 2008 and expanded statewide in 2012, the Louisiana Scholarship Program allows low-income families with students in failing public schools or students entering kindergarten for the first time to transfer to the private school of their choice.
The Louisiana Federation for Children seeks to improve our Louisiana’s K-12 education by advancing systemic and sustainable public policy that empowers parents, particularly those in low-income families, to choose the education they determine is best for their children. LFC supports a wide range of school choice initiatives by building strong legislative coalitions and working closely with allies. We also fight against bills and regulatory changes that would hurt existing school choice programs.
Ann Duplessis is a former state legislator where she served on the Senate Education Committee and fought successfully to expand educational options for Louisiana’s children by authoring and supporting numerous pieces of school choice legislation. Duplessis resides in New Orleans and remains active in numerous civic activities.