“Dream Big Louisiana” Governor Jeff Landry’s Education Legislative Initiative Moves Forward – Full Steam Ahead!

BATON ROUGE, LA. (March 29, 2024) – Governor Jeff Landry is working with lawmakers to transform and improve educational outcomes across the state. Landry’s initiative, “Dream Big Louisiana,” is a comprehensive plan that advocates for a pivotal shift in our state’s education system, emphasizing learning loss and acceleration, empowering parents to guide their children’s educational journey, and pushing reforms that reduce bureaucracy forced on teachers and rewards those who deliver educational excellence.

Key components of Landry’s “Dream Big Louisiana” package have cleared the committee process and are on their way to floor votes in the State Senate and the State House. A signature bill which creates ESA’s for parents and their children unanimously passed the House Education Committee.

“In our pursuit of excellence and progress, it’s imperative that we fundamentally improve the approach Louisiana takes towards educating our children,” says Governor Jeff Landry. “We must not settle for mediocrity or the status quo, but rather, do as we’ve always asked our children to do… to dream big!”

“Dream Big Louisiana” Legislative Overview

Below is a summary of key pieces of priority legislation in the Governor’s Education Legislation package. Included in the summary are the bill numbers, bill authors, and a brief summary of the filed legislation.

Giving Parents More Control

Louisiana GATOR Scholarships (Education Scholarship Accounts) HB 745 by Rep. Julie Emerson  Known as “Louisiana GATOR Scholarships” or Giving All a True Opportunity to Rise, this initiative would provide Education Scholarship Accounts that allow customizable options for parents to fund their child’s education. These scholarship accounts can be used for school tuition and fees, tutoring, educational therapies, textbooks and curricula, dual enrollment courses, uniforms, and transportation.

Learning Loss and Acceleration

Improve Student Math Skills
HB 267
Rep. Kim Carver & Rep. Jason Hughes- Sponsors
This bill would create a universal math screener for students in kindergarten through third grade aimed at assessing foundational math skills. This tool would be created to provide both teachers and parents with immediate insights into students’ performance and needs in math, facilitating a more focused and effective support system for young learners.

Expand Existing Microgrant Program
HB 244
Rep. Jason Hughes & Rep. Kim Carver- Sponsors
The legislation seeks to expand the Steve Carter Literacy Microgrant Program, which offers tutoring grants to students performing below grade level in reading, to encompass math and raise the funding cap per student from $1,000 to $1,500.

High Dosage Tutoring
SB 288
Sen. Patrick McMath- Sponsor
SB 288 will address learning loss and ongoing student achievement gaps in Louisiana,via high-dosage tutoring – tutoring administered three times a week or more, individually or in small groups, with a strong curriculum as opposed to “homework help” – which has the strongest evidence base of any potential large-scale in-school intervention.

Charter Schools
Sen. Rick Edmonds- Sponsor
The bill introduces a new section to Louisiana law to create a fund that helps charter schools get and improve their buildings. This fund will offer money and help manage it because lawmakers recognize the economic benefits and understand that the high costs of facilities are a major obstacle for charter schools wanting to grow.

HB 708
Rep. Barbara Freiberg- Sponsor
This Charter School bill aims to facilitate the opening and operation of charter schools by implementing policies that streamline the application process and ensure the student demographics of these schools are more representative of the communities they serve.

SB 47/HB 78
Sen. Kirk Talbot & Rep. Kim Carver- Sponsors
These bills support Corporate Charter Schools as an innovative economic development tool that allows Louisiana businesses to partner with a charter school to better meet the education needs of their employees and the greater community. By making a significant investment in the school’s infrastructure – whether donating the land, financial support for renovations or enhancing a school’s technology, a business partner may reserve up to 50 percent of the school’s seats for children of its employees while also supporting the needs of other local families as well. It’s a win for regional workforce needs and Louisiana families.

Career Pathways & Workforce Development

Workforce Development
HB 588
Rep. Raymond Crews- Sponsor
This bill proposes to streamline the Workforce Investment Council by reducing its membership from 53 to a more agile advisory committee. This would help the board make more informed decisions reflecting modern economic trends and improve support for local workforce development efforts.

Value Our Teachers & Increase Accountability

Classroom Funding
HB 143
Rep. Tony Bacala- Sponsor
Louisiana policy requires 70 percent of all public-school funding to be used for instructional purposes. However, there is currently no accountability measure in place to enforce this rule. To ensure the bulk of new and existing money is spent directly in our classrooms for our students, we need state officials to make recommendations to the districts that are failing to comply.

Reducing Teacher Bureaucracy
HB 320
Rep. Charles Owen- Sponsor
A national survey of teachers found that a typical teacher works a median of 54 hours per week, but just 46 percent of their time in the school building is spent teaching. This bill would establish a classroom teacher bureaucracy reduction taskforce to develop recommendations on the statewide reduction in bureaucracy for teachers.

Dream Big Louisiana

Protect Louisiana Values is supporting Governor Jeff Landry’s “Dream Big Louisiana” Policy Agenda that will improve the academic performance of Louisiana children, elevate the quality of Louisiana schools, bolster teacher support and empower Louisiana parents with greater educational choice. We encourage families to help take action by talking to their local legislators.

The Dream Big Louisiana website has officially launched and helps break down the Governor’s plan for students, families and the entire state who are seeking to understand the impact of the new legislative measures. Offering detailed overviews of key legislation, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and more, the website facilitates a deeper comprehension of the policies and their benefits.

Protect Louisiana Values is the official 501(c)(4) organization advocating for Governor Jeff Landry’s policies and those of other conservative leaders. The organization seeks to support initiatives that enhance the quality of life in Louisiana, focusing on crucial aspects such as children, education, families, business and public safety. We believe that all Louisianans deserve to live in a safe, prosperous and just community. By advocating for these policies, we aim to not only bolster our population but also elevate our communities, striving towards a brighter future for Louisiana.