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Mercedes Schneider summarizes here the story of vouchers in Louisiana, which are now widely recognized as a train wreck.
New Orleans’ public radio station WWNO broadcast a detailed account of this policy failure, which steers students to D and F rated schools. State Superintendent John White, one of the voucher program’s most ardent advocates, refused to be interviewed for the program.
”Multiple local news outlets were involved in the investigation:
‘The Cost of Choice’ is the result of a reporting collaboration between NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, WVUE Fox 8 News, WWNO and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.”
When the program was launched in 2012, Then-Governor Bobby Jindal “beamed with pride” and voucher proponent Betsy DeVos lauded the new vouchers, and the cheerleaders said they
“would free countless lower-income children from the worst public schools by allowing them to use state tax dollars in the form of vouchers to pay tuition at private schools, where they would ostensibly receive a better education. …
“Seven years later, however, the $40-million-a-year Louisiana Scholarship Program has failed to live up to its billing. The nearly 6,900 students who’ve left public schools have instead been placed into a system with numerous failing private schools that receive little oversight, a months-long examination by a coalition of local and national media organizations has found. …
“Two-thirds of all students in the voucher system attended schools where they performed at a “D” or “F” level last school year….
“Bobby Jindal did not set up the Louisiana Scholarship Program for success. He set it up for low-performing schools to get subsidized and to stay open,” said Andre Perry, a fellow at The Brookings Institution….
“Not a single school in the voucher program received an A or B. Three received a C. Of the remaining schools, 19 got a D and 15 got an F, based on the Louisiana Department of Education rating system.”
Thousands of children were sent to low-performing schools on the false promise of a better education. Some of the voucher schools needed the voucher money to survive.
Now, Schneider notes, DeVos is distancing herself from the Louisiana failure.
The remaining ideologues insist that voucher schools should not be judged by their abysmal test scores, the same stick used to beat up public schools.
DeVos is now peddling the same failed model to the nation.