A recent Dennis Persica column in The Advocate on school choice misses the full story in describing school choice options available in Louisiana. Fortunately for thousands of families across this state, school choice is a distinct reality that is making a positive impact on children’s lives.

Today, more than 96,000 students are enrolled in Louisiana school choice programs. The state has 134 charter schools educating more than 70,000 students. The 131 schools in the Louisiana Scholarship Program enable more than 7,300 low-income students to attend a private school of their choice. Louisiana’s Course Choice program, which allows students to select from hundreds of online and face-to-face courses not offered by traditional schools, serves more than 19,000 students.

What’s more, these school choice programs are being held accountable for academic performance. Students who elect to enroll in the various choice options are required to take the same assessments as students in traditional public schools. Therefore, parents can see an apples-to-apples comparisons of the performances of all of the schools in the state. Equipped with this knowledge, parents are able to make informed decisions on where to enroll their child.

We believe parents should be empowered to select the school that meets the educational, emotional and social needs of their child. We’ll continue to advocate and defend every parent’s right to make the best educational choice for their son or daughter.

Ann Duplessis

president, Louisiana Federation for Children

New Orleans