A decade after Hurricane Katrina led to a fundamental restructuring of New Orleans’ public school system, numerous articles and reports have documented and debated the impact of the changes on the city’s K-12 students. But how are younger children in New Orleans faring?
There’s a lot less evidence on this question–in large part due to the fragmented nature of early childhood systems, both in Louisiana and nationally. Because two of the clients I work with at Bellwether are involved in early childhood work in New Orleans, I’ve had opportunities to visit and learn about preschool programs in the city over the past two years, but I still feel perplexed by the early childhood landscape there. That said, three issues related to early childhood in New Orleans deserve particular attention: Continue reading →
Charter schools should offer pre-k. Sometimes they can, and sometimes they can’t. One reason they can’t: Policies in ten states privilege existing pre-k providers. When these states allocate pre-k funding, they allocate funding first to providers that are currently serving children, leaving little — if any — funding for charter schools that aren’t existing providers, which many aren’t. So the providers that have the money, keep the money. Continue reading →
Note: Several candidates are missing from this chart. The states represented by Rand Paul (KY) and Bernie Sanders (VT) do not currently have charter laws. The states represented by Martin O’Malley (MD), Lindsey Graham (SC), Jim Gilmore (VA), Jim Webb (VA), and Scott Walker (WI) were not included in the 2013 CREDO study.
Charter schools are growing. The number of charter students has grown from 1.2 million to 2.9 million in less than a decade. Within two decades, a third of public education’s students – or more – could be educated in charter schools. That’s why the next president’s perspective and record on charters matters. But what can we tell about the candidates based on how their states do with charter schooling?
The Times Picayune recently published an article that begins with an assertion that “One third of Louisiana’s voucher students are enrolled at private schools doing such a poor job of educating them that the schools have been barred from taking new voucher students…” One need not read much further to conclude that the author of the article is, at the very least, skeptical of the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP). Unfortunately, the article also perpetuates some misinformation about the program. While working on this program at the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE), I spent countless hours setting the record straight for confused families and schools and know the importance of making sure accurate information gets to them.
The LSP gives low-income families, whose children previously attended a failing public school, the option to enroll in a participating private school of their choice. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling allowing school vouchers, programs like the LSP stir controversy because they allow families to use public funds to enroll their children in private schools. The controversy often leads to confusion, which hinders families’ abilities to make fully informed decisions. That is why I want to correct three points made in this article that I believe are misleading.