Monday, August 20, 2012

Louisiana's Voucher Program Fails Disabled Students - New America Media

Louisiana's Voucher Program Fails Disabled Students - New America Media:

Louisiana's Voucher Program Fails Disabled Students

Louisiana's Voucher Program Fails Disabled Students

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NEW ORLEANS, LA. -- Last April, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a new voucher program considered to be the most sweeping in the country. For years, Louisiana's children have been scoring below their peers in other states on reading and math skills according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. In this context, Jindal and his Superintendent of Schools, John White, have touted the voucher program as a way parents can choose alternatives when they believe public schools aren't meeting their children's needs.

For parents like Kelly Fischer, whose 11-year-old son Noah has autism, is blind and developmentally delayed, widening choices won't solve the problem of ensuring a good education. In some ways it has only compounded the labyrinth she has had to navigate since moving to New 

Why the Wisconsin VoucherExperiment Failed

Advocates of private school vouchers often point to Wisconsin as a model. The state has had a voucher plan since the early 1990s. At first limited to secular private schools in the city of Milwaukee, the voucher scheme was later expanded to include religious institutions.
Other changes are more recent. A similar plan was set up in Racine, and in Milwaukee, income caps were raised, and suburban private schools were brought into the plan. The upshot of this is that a plan that was once described as an “experiment” to help low-income families in troubled areas of Milwaukee is now firmly entrenched and aiding middle-class families in the suburbs.
Who saw that coming?
Well, actually, Americans United did. Twenty-one years ago when the Wisconsin plan was proposed, we warned that it wouldn’t increase student performance, wouldn’t help the poor and would end up bailing out financially troubled religious schools.
No, we’re not psychic. Plain old common sense told us that the claims of voucher boosters were wildly exaggerated. On student performance, for example, the record is clear: Voucher students are doing no