Education

Every child should have access to a high-quality education, ensuring every Louisiana resident has a chance to succeed. Louisiana cannot have a bright economic future without a workforce equipped with the skills and training necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. Revamping Louisiana’s educational system stands as an economic imperative—and a moral one too.

Education Savings Accounts Should Be Part of Louisiana’s Comeback Strategy

Education Savings Accounts Should Be Part of Louisiana’s Comeback Strategy

As thousands of southeast Louisiana students and their families struggle once again to resume schooling in the wake of Hurricane Ida, and as state officials work to implement a “Louisiana Comeback” plan to address significant student learning loss as a result of COVID-related interruptions, Louisiana must look to bigger, bolder solutions to give children and...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

We Can Do Better For Our Children

We Can Do Better For Our Children

This week, following public testimony and in response to stakeholder feedback, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to defer several proposed changes to the state’s K-12 school accountability formula. This is good news for kids and communities around the state, and BESE members deserve our gratitude for doing the right thing in...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Pre-Pandemic Status Quo Should Not Be the Goal

Pre-Pandemic Status Quo Should Not Be the Goal

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) released spring 2021 LEAP test results, showing declines in student achievement from the last time students took the tests in 2019. The results confirmed what we feared, that Louisiana children whose overall academic performance already trailed the nation lost valuable ground — a decrease in five percentage points overall...

By John Kay

Louisiana School Accountability Needs a Reset

Louisiana School Accountability Needs a Reset

The education policy community in Louisiana has been in a heated debate over the last several months over the state’s school accountability formula. A little-known and even less understood formula drives school letter grades, spending decisions, and administrative actions that have a big impact on our state’s kids. First, some history: Louisiana was an early...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

The School Accountability System Should be Simple and Transparent

The School Accountability System Should be Simple and Transparent

In just a few weeks, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will vote on whether to adopt a set of changes to Louisiana’s K-12 school accountability system that were proposed by State Superintendent Cade Brumley and the board’s Accountability Commission, which serves as a stakeholder-led advisory panel. The board deferred action on the proposed revisions during its last...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Jefferson Parish School Board Members Lead the Charge on Transparency Veto Override

Jefferson Parish School Board Members Lead the Charge on Transparency Veto Override

As the legislature attempts to override the governor’s vetoes on various bills, one bill that we have paid close attention to is House Bill 38, the school district fiscal transparency bill. The bill would require enhanced fiscal transparency for all school districts in Louisiana and would require most districts to publish their expenses on the...

By John Kay

Debunking the Myths Surrounding Fiscal Transparency for School Districts

Debunking the Myths Surrounding Fiscal Transparency for School Districts

In recent days, there has been much misinformation put out about the school district transparency bill by Representative Rick Edmonds. Although groups have been spreading misinformation, it doesn’t change the fact that transparency of taxpayer dollars is a necessary function of any good government. We have chosen two prominent myths to address in this article....

By John Kay

Fiscal Transparency is Never Unnecessary

Fiscal Transparency is Never Unnecessary

Last week, Governor Edwards announced a shocking veto of a bill that would have created fiscal transparency in our schools. The bill would have required Louisiana’s larger public-school systems to post information about their revenues and expenditures to the Louisiana Fiscal Transparency Website known as “Louisiana Checkbook,” and required smaller school systems to post existing...

By John Kay

What Do School Letter Grades Really Tell Us About School Quality?

What Do School Letter Grades Really Tell Us About School Quality?

Last month, the Louisiana Department of Education proposed a set of changes to the state’s K-12 education accountability system that would significantly increase school ratings not because student achievement improved, but by simply changing the weights and awarding more points within the calculations. Simulations provided by the department projected that more than 50% of D- and...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Fiscal Transparency is Critical to Improving our Schools

Fiscal Transparency is Critical to Improving our Schools

The Pelican Institute is excited to report that the Louisiana Legislature has passed legislation that requires local public-school systems to make information about school spending more readily available to parents and communities. It now heads to Governor Edwards for signature. Louisiana spends over $13,000 per student, the highest in the Southeast, for some of the...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

School Accountability is too Important to Not Get Right

School Accountability is too Important to Not Get Right

Last week, The Advocate reported on plans by state education officials to make significant shifts to the statewide school and district accountability system. Some of the proposed changes are a step in the right direction; others will make our school scoring significantly more lenient. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is expected...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Education Savings Accounts: A New Opportunity for Louisiana Kids

Education Savings Accounts: A New Opportunity for Louisiana Kids

While tax reform has rightly dominated the news coverage of Louisiana’s current legislative session, other bills filed by lawmakers are offering some very exciting opportunities for the state to introduce a new education reform that has proven beneficial for numerous families in other states. Education savings accounts, or ESAs for short, provide families of eligible...

By Daniel J. Erspamer