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La. Voucher Students' Test Scores Lower than State Average

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Students in Louisiana's voucher program performed worse on state tests than public school students statewide, and seven private schools that accept voucher students will no longer be able to do so because of low scores, says an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

About 40 percent of third through eighth grade students in the voucher program scored at or above grade level on statewide tests—which tested English, math, social studies, and science—compared to 69 percent of third through eighth grade students statewide, the article says.

State superintendent John White urged patience in judging the performance of students receive public funds to attend private schools. "Nearly two thirds of the kids taking tests in those schools had only been [at the private schools] six months," he told the Times-Picayune.

State law bars voucher-participating private schools from accepting new voucher students if proficiency on state tests sinks to 25 percent or less for three years in a row. This year, seven schools are on that list. While the roughly 300 students who are currently attending those schools will be allowed to continue, the seven schools will not be allowed to accept new voucher students in the fall, the article says.

About 140 students who were previously assigned to start at those schools in the fall will need to be reassigned to new schools.

Education leaders in Louisiana, including Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and White, are struggling to find funding for the Louisiana Scholarship Program after the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that its original method of funding was unconstitutional.

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