School Voucher Plan To Go Before BESE
The voucher plan is an expanded version of a program started in New Orleans in 2008. It offers private school tuition to poorer students in public schools with a failing grade. White says private and parochial schools collecting state-paid tuitions with the School Choice Act will be held to the same basic standards as public schools.
It's going to cover all kids and all schools to make sure that we've got real outcomes in schools when we send to public dollar. It is a system that establishes a common bar for performance - whether you're public, whether you're charter, or whether you're private.
The plans address critics of the school vouchers law who complained private and parochial schools would benefit from taxpayer dollars and not be held to any standard. White says students attending a private or parochial school under the vouchers program will have to take the same high-stakes standardized tests that public school kids do.
We'll also be looking at curriculum and we'll be looking at the operations of the schools day-to-day to make sure their business practices are good as well.
White says the plan establishes a common bar for performance and includes swift consequence when programs don't work for children. He says vouchered schools may incur penalties, if they don't maintain a certain level of excellence.
Now, if they are really struggling for a long period of time then yes we are going to say 'let's take a timeout and let's assess whether or not you can get it back on track' and when they get it back on track they can come back into the program
The Louisiana Board of Elementary & Secondary Education meets today to consider White's plan. White will ask BESE to approve that plan.
Meanwhile, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators are both arguing that the law should be rendered unconstitutional because it is using tax payers money to pay for private a parochial schooling. Steve Monaghan, president of the LFT, stated that the law will likely come under fire on a federal level as well. The new law was pushed by Governor Bobby Jindal, who helped get it passed.