Two Louisiana teacher’s unions and several school boards across the state will take their best shot at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program in court Oct. 15 when a judge is slated to hear arguments surrounding the constitutionality of the program.

According to the Associated Press, state District Judge Tim Kelley will preside over the hearing on the voucher program, which shifts public school dollars to private schools taking in low-income students who transfer from poor-performing public schools.

News of a hearing date comes just days after The Advocate reported that voucher students attending private schools on the public’s dime are likely to face much less stringent accountability measures than public school students, such as not having to take high-stakes tests in fourth and eighth grades to advance to the next grade level:
[Louisiana Association of School Superintendents President Michael] Falk said he thinks voucher students will be required to take state tests and those results will be reported to the state for inspection.

That generally mirrors the testing policy for the current voucher program, which is limited to about 2,300 students in New Orleans.

Falk, who is superintendent of the Central Community School District, said he also doubts that voucher schools will get annual school performance scores, which are linked to letter grades and which largely reflect how students fare on standardized tests.

The House approved an amendment that requires the state Department of Education — essentially [State Superintendent John] White — to create an accountability system for voucher students and schools they attend by Aug. 1.
White announced last week that 10,300 students statewide have applied for vouchers, though only 7,450 slots have been opened up for next school year. The 10,300 students who’ve applied represent about 2.5 percent of the nearly 400,000 public school students who are eligible to participate.

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