The Iberville Parish School Board is suing the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education because their monopoly on public education has been disturbed. Parents and students can now choose to attend an open-enrollment, tuition-free, public charter school instead of being assigned to a school based on their address.

And while the crux of the lawsuit is on technicalities of the funding mechanism for Type 2 charters, the real question at hand is: Should parents and students not only have the right to choose to attend a local public charter school, but should the money for public education follow that child? The response from parents across the state has been an overwhelming “yes.”

Education is more than just a right; it is a pathway. It is well past time we empowered parents and students to take a road of their own choosing. Over the past year, we seem to spend more time in courtrooms than in classrooms. Rather than chasing down dollars for students who they are no longer serving, school boards should be asking why are so many parents opting to send their kids elsewhere?

Stop litigating. Start educating. Parents want choice, and public charter schools provide that. The Iberville Parish School Board can better serve their constituents by joining the charter school movement in the fight to improve public education than by fighting to keep their monopoly in place.

Caroline Roemer Shirley

executive director, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools

New Orleans