Regarding Will Sentell’s article on Louisiana school vouchers crippling academic achievement: The fact that the Louisiana Scholarship Program’s voucher system is failing isn’t surprising. The voucher system failed because education isn’t just about money.

Education not only relies on money but also curriculum, management and labor. In 2012, Gov. Bobby Jindal passed an education reform law increasing the amount of students covered by the state voucher program.

A voucher is basically an entry ticket for those who cannot pay for a private or parochial school. Vouchers are mainly given to African-American students who can’t afford leaving a troubled public school. As reported by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Louisiana voucher program has led voucher students to perform worse than those at public schools in math, science and reading. Vouchers are a way for the state to provide only money to drive education. Including vouchers, there are several different models of education reform: the traditional pre-Katrina model, the for-profit charter school model and the nonprofit independent charter school model.

The New Orleans post-Katrina education experience shows that nonprofit independent charter schools that control management, curriculum and labor have the most significant gains, particularly in the local and statewide African-American community. Consequently, this charter system is more effective than the use of vouchers.

John Wisdom


New Orleans