Despite all the talk that we are in an era of unprecedented political polarization, there are some issues where bipartisanship is making a comeback, especially at the state level, where strained budgets are creating a pragmatism that hasn’t reached the federal level yet. This is most clearly seen in the Midwest and the Northeast, where a new generation of Democratic governors have joined their Republican counterparts in rolling back some of the cushy union rules that are contributing to the bankruptcy of their states. The other major area of bipartisan agreement is education reform. School voucher programs have been implemented in states from Virginia to Vermont, while concepts like value-added teacher assessments are gaining momentum on the right and the left.Louisiana is now preparing a massive statewide voucher program that may become the most expansive in the country. Under this program, vouchers would be redeemable for more than just private schools: they could also be used for online courses, classes at public colleges, and even apprenticeships at local businesses. Nor are the changes confined to this program; the Wall Street Journal reports that proposed legislation would also allow parents to vote to convert their public schools into charters.These changes could have a positive fiscal impact. A similar program in New Orleans reported that voucher students cost only about half as much to educate as their public-schooled peers. If these savings translate to the statewide level, it could take serious strain off the state budget.Interestingly, while the studies that have been done are fairly fuzzy on whether students using vouchers actually end up doing better in school, there is no real sign that they do worse. If those studies hold up (and science is rarely settled on complicated questions involving complex systems dominated by unpredictable human beings), this is a powerful argument to move rapidly toward shifting from the traditional public school, teacher union model. Half the cost and equal to marginally better results sounds like a good bargain.Via Meadia doesn’t know whether the Louisiana experiment will work. Voucher programs on this scale have never truly been tried before, and it will take years to iron out the kinks and analyze the results. But we are strongly in favor of experimental fixes on a system of public education that is seriously flawed and is in need of deep reform.This is a bold test, and one that all Americans should watch.