Out-of-school suspensions are on the rise across the country, a troubling statistic when you consider being suspended just once ups a student's chances of dropping out entirely. That's why many districts are hoping to keep kids in school by trying an alternative to suspension.
The state's top school board has approved $2 million in financing to pay for students to take individual classes elsewhere if their public school is underperforming or doesn't offer a course they want.
The money for the "Course Choice" program will be drawn from a state education trust fund stemming from an old oil drilling settlement, including $1 million that had been slated for local districts.
State Supt. John White wants to reallocate $2 million from a state education trust fund to pilot the “Course Choice” program. The program will let students take individual classes elsewhere if their public school is underperforming or doesn’t offer the course they want. The state’s top school board will consider the alternative funding request Tuesday.
Clairborne Elementary gifted resource teacher Chris Wilson (front right) plays special education resource teacher Annie Fox in the chess tournament as Audubon Elementary computer lab teacher Contessa Hunt (back left) and Melsrose Elementary fourth grade teacher Michelle Vinson (back right) scrutinize their moves.
About 200 teachers from 42 schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish district have signed up for workshops this summer to learn how to start chess clubs and use the game in their classrooms. The first batch of teachers capped off their training with a mini tournament Thursday.
Louisiana’s Department of Education is hosting a series of regional meetings this month to talk about simplifying the state’s high school diploma options.
The department is looking to put more emphasis on career training, after lawmakers’, employers’, and teachers’ repeated complaints that the state is too focused on sending kids on to college, instead of preparing them for real-world jobs.
Attempts to slow down parts of a public education overhaul have been quashed.
The Senate Education Committee opted Thursday not to take action on a bill that would have put off changes to the school grading system that take ACT results into account.
Rep. Kenny Havard, who authored the bill, said using the college entrance exam in performance score calculations will penalize schools where career-bound students opt not to prepare for or take the test. Schools graded a “C” or worse by the state can lose students and resources.
State Superintendent John White wants to scrape the Department of Education's administrative budget to pay for public school students to take individual courses from private providers.
The Course Choice program had been included in the formula that supports public schools. But the same state Supreme Court ruling that shuttled the planned financing for vouchers, said those funds couldn't go to the new classes either.
Earlier this month, Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled that the way the state's private school voucher program was paid for was unconstitutional. It can't be paid for through the Minimum Foundation Formula, or MFP -- the pool of money that supports public education.
Rep. Kirk Talbot, a Republican from New Orleans who voted in favor of the education overhaul Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed hard for last year, says the missteps in the funding of the voucher program gave some in the legislature, " a little bit of heartburn."
Louisiana’s Supreme Court has ruled that money reserved for public schools can’t be used to pay for private school tuition under the state constitution.
The 6-1 decision, handed down Tuesday, undermines the school voucher program that was a keystone of the education overhaul pushed through the legislature by Gov. Jindal last year.
In a written statement following the ruling, Jindal said the program is, “alive and well.” Nearly 5,000 students are enrolled at private schools through the voucher program. Roughly 8,000 students have been offered vouchers for next year.