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Fast Facts

    •Graduation Rate: 72.0%
    •Average SAT Score: 1655
    •Average ACT Score: 19.5
    •4th Grade NAEP Math Score: 26%
    •8th Grade NAEP Math Score: 21%
    •4th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 23%
    •8th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 24%
    •Per Pupil Funding: $11,379
    •Public School Enrollment: 696,558
    •Percent Enrolled in Charter Schools:6.9%


Like a phoenix up from the ashes, the Bayou State has adopted parent empowerment measures of national significance in the last ten years that have helped reverse decades of decline. Thousands of children once stuck in failing schools now have access to the private schools of their choice, and a robust charter law serves students in need. In addition, more digital learning opportunities are available across the state, a dramatic change in teacher tenure and accountability for all schools has been enacted, and parents have ready access to information, driving a high Parent Power Index where once no measurable parent power existed.

Louisiana’s Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program is awarded to income-qualified students in failing schools. The program is awarding scholarships to about 6,000 students. Louisiana also has a pilot voucher program for special needs students and a scholarship tax credit for low-income students. In 2012, teachers unions and local school boards brought the voucher program, and Gov. Jindal’s overall education reform package, to court. The State Supreme Court ruled in Spring 2013 that the funding mechanism for the program was unconstitutional, but the program itself was not struck down and in June the Governor signed the state’s annual budget, which included a $45 million appropriation for the program for the 2013–2014 school year. However, the drama continued into August 2013; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state of Louisiana to block future issuances of school vouchers in districts still under desegregation orders. Despite these recent legal challenges, vouchers remain very popular and in high demand. The state permits parents some choices among traditional public schools by allowing students in low performing schools to attend another school within their district, but to move from one district to another requires the districts to agree to such transfers.

SOURCE: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014
SOURCE: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014

Despite 100 percent of students in the Big Easy now attending charters, Louisiana has an above-average law that has improved slowly since a robust charter movement, with extraordinary philanthropy, began in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Outside of the Recovery District and New Orleans, however, traditional school districts neither encourage nor promote the creation of charter schools. Students in some of the state’s most depressed and rural communities need access to great schools, too. Authorizers have expanded to universities and nonprofits, but all schools are still sponsored by districts and the state. Funding and a lack of facilities assistance is still a struggle and simplifying the types of charters would go a long way to uniformity of the law.

SOURCE: 2015 Charter School Law Rankings State Analysis

Louisiana's Virtual School dates back to 2000, and while the state score high on across other elements of digital learning, it fails on student eligibility and access. Policy allows for multiple providers, but in practice access has been limited for students. Louisiana has begun their transition to digital learning and over the 2014-15 school year, schools will administer all of assessments and end-of-course tests online. To support school districts in the transition to technology-rich schools, the Louisiana Department of Education developed a technology footprint for each school district based on data provided by sixty-seven districts and charters from their responses to the Technology Readiness Tool.

SOURCE: Digital Learning Now!

Objective evidence of student learning and subjective teacher evaluations are weighted equally, and make up 50 percent of their annual evaluations. Louisiana teachers receive feedback about their evaluations and their professional development is aligned with evaluation findings. Tenure can be lost after one ineffective rating and is only received if a teacher has five of six highly effective ratings. Teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations are required to go on improvement plans and are eligible for dismissal if they do not improve, although this process can take significant time. Louisiana has one of the most comprehensive performance pay policies in the country, requiring all human resources decisions to be based on a combination of performance, demand, and experience.

SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality

The state department of education provides very parent-friendly data. School report cards are easy to find and understand and overall school grades are displayed prominently, with underlying data presented in a concise and helpful way. Charter schools, digital schools, scholarship program, and related school choice options are all clearly presented with relevant information and resources. For the 68 local school boards, elections are held in November with all the others.

  • Charter Schools are innovative public schools designed by educators, parents or civic leaders that are open by choice, accountable for results and free from most unnecessary rules and regulations governing conventional public schools. For more information about CER's annual charter law rankings, click here.
  • School choice means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. States that give all parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child – whether public, private, parochial or charter – ensure Parent Power!.
  • Teacher quality comes with strong, data-driven, performance-based accountability systems that ensure teachers are rewarded, retained and advanced based on how they perform in adding value to the students who they teach, measured predominantly by student achievement, along with skills and responsibilities.
  • Transparency in education means giving parents access to good and objective information about their schools, student and teacher performance and options.
  • The movement toward improving education in the U.S. today includes a strong focus on online learning, an approach that involves a myriad of delivery mechanisms via online tools for students, no matter where they live or attend school. Online learning is opening up classrooms to the world and ensuring students access to some of the best content and educators.
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