Gov. Bobby Jindal’s inaugural year of the voucher is finally taking shape, and parents of the almost 5,000 public school students enrolled in private schools statewide are so happy with their experience thus far that they’ve offered upbeat personal stories in support of the program — anonymously.

The state Department of Education released final enrollment numbers Thursday for students participating in the new statewide voucher program that funnels public money to private schools accepting low-income students zoned for public schools with a C, D or F performance letter grade.

According to a release from DOE, 117 private schools and one traditional public school have opted to take in 4,944 voucher students who qualify for the program. To be eligible, income cannot exceed $57,000 a year for a family of four.

Amid all the voucher excitement at DOE, the state agency sent a press release to media outlets touting the high enrollment figures, which exceed other private school voucher programs across the country. DOE’s press office even included comments from Northlake Christian School parents who shared stories about their children’s first day of school, quotes that media outlets might have included in their recaps — if they weren’t anonymous:
Today’s announcement concludes a multi-month process to determine school participation and student assignments. Nearly 10,400 students applied for a Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence under a four-year-old program begun in New Orleans and expanded statewide this year through Act 2 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session. After determining school eligibility and slot availability, nearly 5,000 students are enrolled in the program. Scholarship enrollment numbers for the 2012-2013 school year reveal 14 percent of students came from public schools labeled a C, 69 percent from schools labeled a D, and 17 percent from schools labeled an F.

Parents from Northlake Christian School in St. Tammany Parish applauded the program. One mom said, “I have never picked my child up from school and watched her face light up as she talked about her first day of school. I am going to find out tonight if she knows how to use the online grading system. I am so grateful that she is attending there this school year. Lunch was awesome she said and she did not eat alone. Thank you all for making this a good experience.” Another parent commented, “Let me say that after the first day of school, my child said, ‘Mom, I had a great day at school!’  On his second day he said, ‘Mom, I hope they keep me here until I’m a senior!’ I wanted to cry.  It was amazing to hear him say that!!”
Read the full release here.

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