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Government’s Role in School Choice: Andrew Handel on New Orleans Public Radio

Education freedom is having families able to access as many different educational options as possible.

Andrew Handel, ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force Director, joined host Adam Vos on WWNO (New Orleans) discussing why he believes government funding should follow students even when they leave the public school system.

Education freedom is having families able to access as many different educational options as possible, whether that’s public school, private school, homeschool, virtual school, etc. Whatever choice it may be, it recognizes that every student learns in their own way, and we want to make sure that those unique learning needs are being taken care of.

Handel goes on to explain the factors ALEC looks to when measuring education freedom across the states.

We looked at five scoring categories. The first is funding and financing which is where we take a look at tax credit scholarship programs, voucher programs, education savings account programs, and we rank those in the states that have them. The second category we looked at was charter schools. The third category was home schools. The fourth was virtual schools and then last but not least, we had open enrollment, which is basically your public-school choice. That’s the term we use or making sure that students can access the public school. Not just the one that they’re geographically assigned to, whether it’s inside of their school district or outside of their district.

Handel later breaks down the factors that lead to Louisiana’s ranking in the education freedom index.

Louisiana was ranked 14th in this report, which is very good but, there’s still a lot of work to do. The state scored fairly average in the virtual schools and open enrollment categories. The biggest issue we saw with Louisiana was the funding and financing area. The state has a couple of programs in place, but now they’re fairly limited in terms of which students can access them and the amount of money that’s given to the students through scholarships is a fraction of what a public school would otherwise spend.

Listen to the full interview here.