A Call to Action: Amend the School Choice Bill

Dear Legislator:

Over the next two weeks, you will be asked to vote for the Choice Bill (HB 976 and SB 597), which will make over 350,000 public school students eligible for vouchers. Done well, it can change lives, giving students trapped in failing schools better educational opportunities and improving education statewide. Done poorly, it will waste taxpayer money and financially strain local school districts.

So, let’s pass a good bill – one that will use our tax dollars to provide a better education for public school students. As it currently stands, the bill has two key flaws that you can easily fix.

First, the current bill fails to protect against fraud or mismanagement of tax dollars. 

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In the News: A Clipping Service – March 19, 2012

In this edition of In the News:

  • A Big Leap Forward
  • Weighing in on the Legislative Agenda
  • A How-To Guide for New Orleans-Style Reform
  • Tougher Expulsion Policies Don’t Equal More Crime
  • Charter Accountability
  • National Education Stories
  • Local News

A Big Leap Forward

The Big Easy’s Business Leap Forward
The Wall Street Journal – March 16, 2012
The Wall Street Journal celebrates New Orleans’ entrepreneurial boom and the new risk-taking spirit in New Orleans exemplified by Idea Village’s fourth annual Entrepreneur Week, which featured 525 start-up companies competing for more than $1 million in capital and consulting services.
Editor’s Note: Jen Medbery, founder of Drop the Chalk/Kickboard, won Entrepreneur Week’s top award – the Coulter Challenge IDEApitch. Congratulations Jen for marrying the education reform movement with the city’s entrepreneurial renaissance. Continue reading

The Session Begins

Governor Jindal has made K-12 education reform the cornerstone of his legislative agenda. He is proposing sweeping changes – including expanding vouchers, creating more charter schools, and changing teacher tenure – that could radically alter the landscape of Louisiana education.

This Wednesday the House Education Committee and this Thursday the Senate Education Committee will hear his three foundational bills.

  • Rep. Carter’s House Bill 976 and Sen. Appel’s SB 597, which expand school choice, including the scholarship program, pathways for charter schools, the providers who can offer courses to K-12 students, and a “parent trigger” for failing schools.
  • Rep. Carter’s House Bill 974 and Sen. Appel’s SB 603, which link teacher tenure to performance, make effectiveness the primary criterion for personnel decisions, and grant authority for hiring and placement of personnel to school superintendents.
  • Rep. Carter’s House Bill 933 and Sen. Appel’s SB 581, which outline a framework for a single coordinated early childhood education system with accountability for academic outcomes.

Comments on the Governor’s Education Package

Gov. Bobby Jindal Education Overhaul Legislation Introduced
The Times-Picayune – March 3, 2012
This article outlines the governor’s ambitious plans, provides details on the different bills to be debated, and presents arguments for and against his most controversial proposals to overhaul teacher tenure and expand vouchers. Continue reading