Louisiana Voucher Program Helps School Desegregation

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from NCPA,

The Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), also known as the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program, provides public funds for low-income students in low-performing public schools to enroll in local private schools. The program has recently come under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has filed a lawsuit alleging the program is impeding federal school-desegregation efforts initiated in the 1970s. Anna J. Egalite and Jonathan N. Mills, doctoral academy fellows in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, examine in Education Next the program’s likely effects on the racial makeup of Louisiana schools.

The findings of the study suggest that use of private school vouchers by low-income students actually has positive effects on racial integration.

Just 17 percent of LSP schools are racially homogeneous, compared to 34 percent of public schools that previously enrolled LSP students, a statistically significant difference.

The analysis of the Louisiana Scholarship Program reveals that the vouchers used by the subset of recipients for whom information is available have supported public school desegregation efforts. By leaving schools in which their racial group was overrepresented relative to the surrounding communities, voucher users have improved integration in Louisiana public schools.

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