Louisiana is a leader in offering families school choice options.
Public School Choice:
Louisiana offers families public school choice options. The Education Commission of the States reports that Louisiana has enacted two open enrollment policies: Low-performing public schools must allow inter-district and intra-district transfers, and schools may allow inter-district transfer options for all students. The Center for Education Reform reports that Louisiana has an average charter school law. In 2010, just over 33,000 students were enrolled in the state’s 96 charter schools.
Private School Choice:
Louisiana has offered private school choice since 2008. Low-income students attending an underperforming public school in New Orleans or Jefferson Parish are eligible for a scholarship to attend a private school of choice through the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program. In 2009, nearly 2,000 students received these scholarships. Louisiana also offers tax deductions for tuition at private elementary and secondary schools. In 2010, Louisiana passed a pilot scholarship program for students with disabilities. Students with special needs can receive a voucher worth up to 50 percent of public school per-pupil expenditures to attend a private school of choice.
As of fall 2011, Louisiana opened its first two statewide, online schools: the Louisiana Connections Academy and the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy. Students in Louisiana are also offered supplemental online courses through the state-led Louisiana Virtual School (LVS). According to the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report, during 2010-2011, the LVS enrolled 4,639 students.
In 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation to expand the state's tuition tax credit program. This program previously allowed parents to receive a 50 percent tax deduction for private school tuition of up to $5,000 per child. This program was enhanced by removing the 50 percent cap and allowing a $5,000 maximum deduction.
Click here for detailed information on Louisiana's public school system and see below for school choice contacts and a history of school choice legislation in Louisiana.