Voucher accountability in the Pelican State
When Louisiana lawmakers last week approved Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to award vouchers to low-income children, they also ordered state schools Superintendent John White to develop a system that holds participating schools accountable for the performance of their voucher students. Now it’s up to White and his Department of Education to figure out how this is going to work. May we make a suggestion? They might consider a sliding scale of accountability, with heightened accountability requirements for private schools that rely more on public revenue. Schools that see only a few voucher students out of a private-paying enrollment of hundreds should be treated more like private schools (those voucher students would still have to take the state test under the law Louisiana adopted), but schools that see upward of 90 percent of their revenues coming from public sources should be treated more like public schools, even if that means removing them from the program for poor performance. Such an approach balances the choice of the parent, the unique characteristics of a school, and the rights of the taxpayer.
“Jindal bill tweaked to add accountability,” by Kevin McGill, Associated Press, April 7, 2012