Louisiana’s Mini Summit on School Choice
By Paul Dauphin
Education leaders and policy makers gathered in Baton Rouge last week to discuss the success and future challenges of Louisiana’s school choice movement during the Mini Policy Summit on School Choice.
Former Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek stressed the importance of building on the progress made during the past decade to an audience that included lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
“There are many other schools around our state that are not able to provide the kind of success that children deserve. Children do not deserve to be stuck in schools that don’t work,” said Pastorek.
Louisiana Federation for Children president Ann Duplessis, who authored and supported numerous pieces of school choice legislation as a former state senator, anticipates increased participation in the state’s school choice programs. “We haven’t really touched the surface in the number of kids we need to reach,” said Duplessis.
The summit featured a panel of school leaders who shared stories of students whose lives have been transformed by school choice opportunities.
“It takes a lot for a child to have hope. That’s what I want my children and parents to have,” remarked Paula Fabre, principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Baton Rouge.
“There is an increasing coalition of educators in New Orleans who are working together, more than I’ve ever seen before. These are leaders of RSD schools, charter schools and traditional public schools with a common vision that is focused on kids,” said Ben Kleban, founder and president of New Orleans College Prep charter schools.
The Louisiana Mini Policy Summit on School Choice was organized in partnership with the Louisiana Federation for Children, Democrats for Education Reform Louisiana, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools and Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options.