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Fixing the Schools
Louisiana Continues Education Hot Streak

Louisiana is adding two more education awards to its trophy case. Early this month, the Bayou State placed first in Student’s First’s state-by-state ranking of education policy, which singled out its policies on teacher evaluation and school choice as particular strengths. This week, a new report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has Louisiana’s charter school policies ranked third in the nation, behind only Minnesota and Indiana. The report evaluated states on a number of categories, including the transparency of the application process, the existence of caps on the number of charters, exemptions from state regulations and whether the schools are exempt from collective-bargaining agreements outside the organization. Louisiana performed highly on nearly all categories, although it was criticized for making it difficult for schools to access capital funding and facilities.

Meanwhile, another report, this time from the National Council on Teacher Quality, gave Louisiana a “B” for its efforts to ensure that teachers are well-prepared and evaluated. This may not sound that impressive, but it was enough for the state to place second in the country, tied with Rhode Island and Tennessee. Only Florida placed higher. In particular, the report praised Louisiana for its efforts to evaluate, identify and retain good teachers, where it leads the nation.

It’s important to note that these studies are conducted by advocacy groups, and as such measure the state’s efforts to implement reformer’s preferred measures rather than the effect of the reforms themselves. What this does show, however, is that Louisiana has quickly become a test case for the reform movement; the question now is whether these changes help improve the one metric that actually counts: student achievement. It is still too early to measure this definitively, but we’ll be watching closely as the data comes in. The reformers have a lot riding on Louisiana’s success.

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  • Anthony

    “It’s important to note that these studies are conducted by ‘advocacy’ groups, and as such ‘measure’ the state’s effort to implement reformer’s preferred measures rather than effect of reforms themselves.” That is an excellent qualification though Louisiana’s efforts to address competence and equality (education gaps) warrant a close look (especially since Democracy and our schools present a serious matter).

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