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Louisiana Embraces Course Choice
posted by: Alana | August 26, 2015, 03:09 PM   

By Conner Dunleavy

In 2012, the state of Louisiana embraced a revolutionary policy known as public school “course choice,” opening the door for students interested in taking on additional classes. Since the time of its launch, the program has been hailed as a critical reform by allowing students to take courses outside of the traditional public school setting through third party organizers.

The policy allows students to take the courses they want - or need - at a reduced cost to taxpayers while providing greater benefit to the student through personalized education. Now, because of its success, the education chief of Louisiana believes that the system should go national. John White has touted the program as a chance for students to take up advanced classes (such as physics and calculus) that are not offered at many of the nation's high schools.

“Nationwide, the number of schools that are not providing basic science courses, basic math courses, career education, is really surprisingly high,” White said.

The Advocate reported
, "Since the new options were added...the number of African-American students enrolling in Louisiana high school classes for college credit rose by 137%. The number of public high school students enrolling in college directly after high school is up by 16%."

“That is really a credit to the school boards and superintendents,” White said of the surge in enrollment. “They worked with the business community to expand that system.”

White believes that the program should be included in the No Child Left Behind rewrite that is currently making its way through Congress. White maintains that doing so would allow students from across the country to take advantage of classes not offered at their local schools.

AAE members have also been eager to embrace course choice. According to AAE’s 2015 National Membership Survey, 94% of survey respondents support course choice for students. Ideally, students could craft an à la carte education uniquely tailored to their learning needs via courses from colleges, public high schools, virtual schools and various online providers.


Do you want to see the course choice program go national?
Tell us why or why not in the comments below!


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