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.

What Can Enrollment Trends Tell Us About School Choice

What Can Enrollment Trends Tell Us About School Choice

Around this time last year, you probably saw the news about Louisiana public school enrollment dropping by just over 2 percent or nearly 17,000 students since the pandemic began. Following weeks of school closures in 2020 and a chaotic 2020-2021 school year that overwhelmed and frustrated students, parents, and educators alike, it was no surprise....

By Erin Bendily

Our Work Isn’t Done: Let’s Empower Parents in 2022

Our Work Isn’t Done: Let’s Empower Parents in 2022

This summer, I penned an article in response to a national study conducted about the ability of parents to address their child’s educational needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The study revealed that when their child’s education was disrupted, many families simply did not have the ability to act and seek other educational options. As we...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Statement: The Pelican Institute Congratulates The Newly Elected BESE Officers

Statement: The Pelican Institute Congratulates The Newly Elected BESE Officers

BATON ROUGE— CEO of the Pelican Institute, Daniel Erspamer released the following statement after new officers were elected for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). “Congratulations to BESE members Jim Garvey, Kira Orange Jones, and Sandy Holloway for being elected to serve as officers of BESE. We thank former president Sandy Holloway for...

By Ryan Roberts

Parents Deserve More Transparency

Parents Deserve More Transparency

More transparency leads to better decisions. In all areas of government, we know this to be true. But this fact is especially important when it comes to making decisions that dictate the success of our children. However, in Louisiana, parents have scant access to valuable financial data for our schools. Therefore parents, key decision-makers and...

By John Kay

Is Value-Added Data Adding Value in Louisiana’s School Accountability System?

Is Value-Added Data Adding Value in Louisiana’s School Accountability System?

If you’ve paid any attention to K-12 education reform in Louisiana over the past several years, particularly about teacher evaluations, teacher preparation programs, and school accountability ratings, you’ve probably heard or read about the use of “value-added data”. It’s a wonky term, but even most lay people understand the concept of value-add – that is,...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Teacher Shortages: What solutions will actually work?

Teacher Shortages: What solutions will actually work?

For the past several weeks, K-12 schools across the country have been lamenting about the shortage of classroom teachers and other school staff. Difficulties filling job vacancies have been reported across the country. In many cases, these shortages existed before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has compounded the problem. It’s not just that people are concerned...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Teacher Pension Debt Hits a Whopping $11.1 Billion

Teacher Pension Debt Hits a Whopping $11.1 Billion

Louisiana’s retirement debt costs the state $1 of every $4 in annual state aid allocated to public schools, according to a report from the state auditor. The report found that pension commitments due to retired teachers totaled 23.9% of state spending on K-12 education in 2019-2020, or $852.5 million. That works out to a little...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Transparent School Accountability is Critical to Louisiana’s Recovery

Transparent School Accountability is Critical to Louisiana’s Recovery

It’s time to get serious about how our education system is preparing students for their futures. Following decades of reform and incremental progress, our state continues to perform at the bottom of the country. About two-thirds of Louisiana’s public school students are not on grade level, performing less than what is considered “proficient” in core...

By Ryan Roberts

True College and Career Readiness Should Be Our Priority

True College and Career Readiness Should Be Our Priority

Louisiana K-12 schools have begun putting billions of federal recovery dollars to use to help students and schools bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and several recent natural disasters. Teachers and school leaders have been working hard to strengthen instruction and put safeguards in place that allow children to learn safely. Parents have made plenty...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

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