The Louisiana legislature advances most comprehensive education reform legislation since 2012.
The American Federation for Children applauds the Louisiana legislature for advancing bold education reform bills that address the state’s literacy crisis, COVID-19 learning loss and expand school choice options for students.
Statement from Kelli Bottger, American Federation for Children’s Director of Political Strategy:
“This is Louisiana’s most comprehensive education reform legislation to pass since the statewide expansion of the Louisiana Scholarship Program in 2012. These bills and resolution, which received bipartisan support, address Louisiana’s most pressing education challenges: the state’s long-term literacy crisis, with thousands of children performing academically below grade level, and COVID-19 related learning loss.
I’m proud of our lawmakers who also advanced legislation to improve Louisiana’s largest private school choice program by revising the eligibility criteria and adding an additional $1 million in funding. These legislators have given parents of public-school students greater access to schools that best fit the needs of their children, and directed the Louisiana Department of Education to develop criteria for an Educational Savings Account (ESA) for military and foster families. Students in the state of Louisiana were the winners this session!”
- Act 415/HB 85 (Rep. Scott McKnight), the Steve Carter Literacy Program, provides for payments of up to $1,000 per student per year for eligible services intended to improve reading or literacy skills. The program will serve more than 159,000 public school students in kindergarten through 5th grade in its first year. This literacy program was the final legislative initiative championed by Rep. Steve Carter before leaving the legislature in 2020.
- Act 420/HB 211 (Rep. Mark Wright) expands school choice for families whose students are enrolled in “D” or “F” public schools by allowing them to select an “A”, “B”, or “C” rated school within the district as long as there is capacity for the student. The legislation authorizes appeals to Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education by parents of students who are denied enrollment into their public school of choice.
- Act 294/SB 234 (Sen. Patrick McMath) requires state and local education agencies to provide expanded academic support to students using federal funds intended for educational relief relative to COVID-19, and to develop and implement an academic intervention plan to improve the achievement of students who are performing below grade level.
- Act 196/HB280 (Rep. Rick Edmonds) revises eligibility criteria for school participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (Louisiana Scholarship Program). This legislation makes the program more accountable and ensures students receive the highest quality education. The Louisiana Scholarship Program currently serves more than 6,100 students in 130 schools.
- HR 190 (Rep. Mark Wright) requests that the Louisiana Department of Education develop a written plan for a statewide education savings account program and to submit a copy of the plan to the House Committee on Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education not later than sixty days prior to the beginning of the 2022 Regular Session of the Legislature.