Monday, March 12, 2012

Legislative Update for March 12, 2012

The Cowen Institute is pleased to share with you the latest in K-12 education policy at the local, state and federal levels. Don't forget to like us on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter.

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2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature Opens Today

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The 2012 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature opens today at noon. We will send out our Legislative Update weekly to keep you updated on all of the latest information on K-12 public education-related bills and committee activity.

Among the 177 prefiled bills related to K-12 education, HB976 and SB597 are worth highlighting because they represent a significant portion of the changes to public education envisioned by Governor Jindal. The proposed legislation would:

  • Allow nonprofits and certain state agencies to become charter school authorizers
  • Create a process for a parental petition requesting a school be transferred to the Recovery School District (RSD)
  • Establish the Course Choice Program, which will enable students to use a portion of state and local funding on courses provided by state approved education service providers
  • Expand the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program (the LDOE released a white paper on the expansion of the voucher program)

As a response to HB976 and SB597, several prefiled bills also address accountability for nonpublic schools that accept voucher students.

Other proposed legislation would impact school employee benefits, rights, and protections. Prefiled bills would merge retirement systems, change retirement programs from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans, change tenure requirements, and allow superintendents and principals to have final say on employment decisions.

The Cowen Institute has compiled a list of all prefiled bills related to K-12 education, which you can download here. We have also put together our list of the top K-12 education bills to watch, which can be downloaded here. This list will be updated weekly as bills make their way through the legislative process.

The House Education Committee will meet this week on Wednesday, March 14th, at 8:30am in Committee Room 1. The meeting agenda can be viewed by clicking here. The Senate Education Committee may also meet on Thursday, March 15th, however an agenda has not been posted. For more information on upcoming meetings and committee activity, please visit the Louisiana Legislature website, the House Education Committee website, and the Senate Education Committee website.

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Cowen Institute Presents the 2012 State of Public Education in Louisiana

The Cowen Institute is pleased to release the 2012 State of Public Education in Louisiana. This annual report is meant to inform our state legislators and key stakeholders on public education issues in Louisiana. Download the entire report by clicking here, or each section can be downloaded separately by clicking on the section title below. If you would like a hard copy of the report, please contact us.

Louisiana PK-12 Education: Governance, Demographics, & Enrollment
This section of the report includes information on local and state governance, 2010-2011 student demographics, and student enrollment data. It also highlights the governance structure in Orleans Parish and contains the report cover and Table of Contents.

This section includes information on school performance scores (SPS), how Louisiana compares to other states and other countries, and information on the achievement gap in the state.

This section includes information on the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), a comparison of  local and state funding by parish, an explanation of the funding structure for public schools, and comparison of school funding in Louisiana to the rest of the country.

Race to the Top
This section includes information about Louisiana’s participation in the federal Race to the Top competitive grant competition.

This section includes information on spending on school facilities both in Louisiana and across the country, as well as an overview of Louisiana’s school facilities needs.

Recovery School District
This section includes an explanation of the role of the Recovery School District (RSD) in Louisiana, as well as its performance in New Orleans.

Charter Schools and Choice
This section provides an overview of charter schools in the state – what they are, their governance structure, location, and student demographics—and the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program.

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