Letter: Most parents happy with school choice

This week, Louisiana joined thousands of people across the country in celebrating National School Choice Week, which highlights all the options that allow children to attend quality schools.

For far too long, too many Louisiana students have been underserved by the status quo, leaving low-income children trapped in failing and underperforming schools that do not work for them. No child should be imprisoned in a school that does not work for them simply because of their race, the ZIP code they live in or the amount of money in their parents’ bank account. While the fundamental concept is that schools should educate our kids, the reality is that not all schools are working for our students.

A quick look at the recent Mood of Louisiana Poll shows 93 percent of respondents described K-12 education as important, while an overwhelming 62 percent believe public education is declining. Further, only 12 percent believe public education is improving. Louisiana residents can see plainly that continuing with the status quo is not the answer for advancing our children or our state. This poll underscores the need for school choice, which gives parents the power to choose the kind of education they are confident will best fit their child’s individual needs, whether it is public education, a charter school, a private school, homeschooling or virtual learning.

Because of this common sense approach to educating our children, the Louisiana Scholarship Program is one of the most popular programs in the nation among parents, with nearly 94 percent of parents reporting they are happy with their child’s academic success in the program.

Additionally, the program boasts the strongest and most transparent academic and financial accountability measures in the nation, ensuring that students in the program receive a quality education. These measures ensure that only the strongest schools remain in the program, with swift consequences for schools that do not meet these robust standards. Further, regular reviews of the program fortify it as it grows.

The Louisiana Scholarship Program is just one of a handful of educational options, including charter schools and virtual schools, which allow students the tools they need to thrive. That is the crux of National School Choice Week—celebrating the life-changing opportunities that put children before politics, allowing them to flourish.

Ann Duplessis

president, Louisiana Federation for Children

New Orleans