Survey: 91 Percent of Parents Approve of Louisiana School Choice Program

Voucher program recently survived Obama administration assault

Head Start preschoolers / AP
April 22, 2014

More than 90 percent of parents whose children receive school vouchers in Louisiana are happy with the program, according to a new survey.

The Louisiana Federation for Children and the Black Alliance for Educational Options released their joint "Parental Satisfaction Survey" on Tuesday, which reported overwhelming praise from the program’s participants.

Of the parents surveyed, 91.9 percent of parents said they are satisfied with the program. In addition, 91.6 percent of parents said they are happy with their child’s academic progress; 98.7 percent reported that their child feels safe; and 97.6 percent said they and their children feel welcome.

Only 25 respondents out of nearly 2,000 said they were unsatisfied with their child’s current school under the program.

"These results show parents are overwhelmingly happy with the Louisiana Scholarship Program, and they reinforce the strong demand for the program as a vital option for students who are trapped in failing and underperforming schools," said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children. "The near-universal support from parents who recognize the life-changing academic benefits provided to their children serves as a compelling reminder about why educational choice must remain a viable option for our children."

The Louisiana Scholarship Program recently survived a months-long legal battle with the Justice Department, following a federal judge’s ruling that the program could continue. The DOJ had objected to vouchers on the grounds that they "impede desegregation," even though the majority of kids who receive vouchers are minority students.

The school choice organizations said the survey validates their fight to keep the program intact.

"BAEO has been fighting for parental choice in Louisiana for more than six years," said Eric Lewis, the Louisiana state director for BAEO. "We know first hand that families who benefit from the Louisiana Scholarship Program are satisfied with the program and this survey proves that belief."

"We believe these results show the need for this program to be protected and expanded so that all children from low-income and working-class families can have access to this educational option," he said.

The survey was conducted between January 26 and March 19 through direct mail.  A total of 1,779 parents of the 6,490 who participate in the program responded. The results represent at least one response from 112 of the 126 participating schools

The survey provided excerpts from parents who said they are thankful for the program.

"The right school helped him become a better student," said Edra Richardson, whose son Eldon attends St. Stephen School in New Orleans on a voucher. "Before, I didn’t see him finishing school. Now I see him going to college."

"I have sacrificed a lot for my children, but I could not afford a private education on my own," said Rolando Pascual, whose two daughters attend St. Joseph School in Shreveport. "I feel thankful because this scholarship program is one of God’s blessings to us."