Students enrolled in Louisiana public schools this year will have a tougher curriculum and have to meet higher standards to make the grades they need to advance to the next level.
But students who have transferred to private and parochial schools through the new statewide voucher program won’t have to comply with the tougher standards.
The state is moving to a “Common Core Curriculum” that’s being used by 46 states. The biggest differences from what’s being taught now, said Nick Bolt, Department of Education deputy chief of staff, are “higher standards, higher expectations” for student performance. “The standards themselves are more rigorous. The Common Core will be better than what we have now.”
But it’s only in public schools because “private schools have not bought into the Common Core,” Bolt said, and “we cannot require that private schools adopt the Common Core. They develop their own curriculum.”
Critics of the voucher program said that if private and parochial schools are taking state money to educate students who transfer out of public schools, they should have to follow the same guidelines as public schools.
Questions are being raised about the quality of teaching and the academic quality of what’s being taught at some of the new schools that are to receive state funding for the first time.