Private School Education and the Impact on Low Income Students
Low income students who moved from chronically failing New Orleans public schools to private schools as a result of the Louisiana Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program demonstrated academic growth on state tests despite their recent school transitions, according to new data released this week.
“The typical findings from rigorous studies of school choice programs is that academic growth is flat or modest in the early years, but often builds to significant growth in the out years”
Results from the state's LEAP tests indicate modest year-to-year growth for scholarship students in core subject areas, on par with what students in the first or second year of scholarship programs typically achieve, experts say.
“The typical findings from rigorous studies of school choice programs is that academic growth is flat or modest in the early years, but often builds to significant growth in the out years,” said Dr. Patrick Wolf, a professor and the Twenty-First Century Chair in School Choice at the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform. Wolf has been the principal investigator for many of the nation's leading studies of private school choice programs.
This growth data mirrors the results from major school choice programs across the country in their inaugural years. Parents also have approved of the program, with studies indicating that parents are happy with their school choices and with the safety of their children in their new learning environments.
“These results are a good first step in what will be steady progress over the SSEE program's lifetime. We are constantly striving to improve and enhance standards of excellence for each and every student," said Shree' Medlock, director of Louisiana BAEO. “This program is truly an educational lifeline for low-income children in New Orleans and we look forward to great things from our scholarship students now and in years to come.”
The bipartisan Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program - which provides school vouchers to children in grades K-4 who attend failing New Orleans public schools - was created in 2008 to provide families with greater educational choices. 1,113 scholarships students are currently enrolled in 32 participating private schools.