Applications rolling in for schools' course choice program
Over just one 24-hour span last week, the Louisiana Department of Education received two dozen applications from colleges and universities, businesses and other groups interested in providing courses to public school students next year under the new Louisiana Course Choice program.
That's more applications than the department anticipated, and suggests a high level of interest in the program, which will funnel state education dollars to non-traditional course providers who offer classes to students from poor performing schools either online or elsewhere outside of the typical school setting.
"Our goal was to have 20 applicants in the first 24 hours so this is a very, very strong start," says Dave Lefkowith, deputy superintendent of education.
Applications came from businesses, on-line virtual education companies, community colleges and other higher ed institutions, existing high schools and "educational entrepreneurs," Lefkowith says, adding that the applicants are proposing "an exciting variety of course offerings, many of which would be new to Louisiana students."
The idea behind Louisiana Course Choice, which was part of the Act 2 education reform package passed by the Legislature earlier this year, is to remove education dollars from failing school districts and give them instead to students, who will be able to use them to take courses that their schools either do not adequately teach or do not offer.
It's all part of a market-driven approach to K-12 schools that has the potential to radically upend the way public education has been structured in this state, but it has received scant attention in light of other, more controversial tenants of the education reform law.
The state will continue to accept provider applications until Oct. 12. The program is slated to begin in the 2013-14 school year. For more information on the program and to access an application, click here; and read a recent Daily Report story about it here.
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