COVID-19 has taught us many lessons, but something that’s become abundantly clear in recent months is a fact that many Louisiana families and advocates have already known for a long time: our state’s education status quo is broken, and an urgent fix is required.

To solve this problem, the Pelican Institute developed a comprehensive policy roadmap for expanding school choice programs in Louisiana. The roadmap will address the challenges presented by COVID-19 while also transforming the state’s education system for future students and parents.

The solutions offered in this new proposal will both keep students learning and empower parents with options to give their children an education that best fits their individual needs. In addition to long-term policy reforms, we also developed a list of solutions to address immediate needs stemming from the COVID-19 challenges, including:

  • Implementing emergency Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)
  • Encouraging the institution of micro/pod schools
  • Expanding virtual charter schools
  • Enacting policies to expand choice offerings in rural and suburban areas

There are many tools already at our disposal to transform how we approach education in Louisiana. Parents across the state should review the current available options, including charter schools, the Louisiana Scholarship Program, home study, the Tuition Donation Credit Program and others when making education plans for their children. Meanwhile, other states are implementing new, transformational programs that put money directly into the hands of parents and allow them to decide what’s best for their children.

Louisiana is a place that has historically responded to adversity with innovation and bold action. Why should this situation be any different? COVID-19 has taught us that the way we delivered education was neither prepared nor agile enough to respond quickly to a major disruption, and now, Louisiana’s children are paying for it. The time to give parents greater options in how children receive their education is now. By placing the decision-making in the hands of the parents, we can help ensure every child has access to a high-quality education and give all students an equal chance to succeed.

We can truly transform the way education is delivered in Louisiana, but we need citizens to demand it and leaders to act boldly in implementing these solutions to expand school choice in our state.