The News-Star, Monroe, La., on scaled-down Course Choice makes sense:

June 17

The News-Star, Monroe, La., on scaled-down Course Choice makes sense:

A side benefit of the Louisiana Supreme Court's recent ruling about voucher funding: The state Department of Education has thrown out enrollments collected by a controversial alternative course provider that promised free computers and got hundreds of students to sign up for classes.

FastPath, a Texas company, enrolled hundreds of students when Course Choice was set up. Then, questions arose about the company's recruitment tactics when it became known that a number of students were not aware they had actually enrolled in the provider's programs in several northwest Louisiana parishes.

Course Choice, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal's 2012 education reform package, would have allowed any student from a public school rated C, D, or F to take outside classes with the cost being covered by the state. Students in high-performing schools would get to participate if courses were not offered by their local school.

Last fall, more than 100 companies, organizations and schools signed up to offer Course Choice classes. The Education Department ultimately chose 42 participants, limiting each provider to 250 students. With an average course cost of $700, that would add up to a maximum of about $7 million.

Some 787 students had signed up for Course Choice through FastPath. Under the department's original guidelines, the company could not have accepted more than 250 students. ...

The new approach makes sense, particularly for school districts in rural Louisiana that cannot offer the variety of higher-level math, science and language courses that the best and the brightest want.

It also allows the state to try Course Choice on a smaller scale and determine at significantly less taxpayer expense what really works.


St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255

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