Individuals who support free markets and limited government often are the most strident advocates for school choice. Many of these same individuals applaud the development of the emerging school choice market in New Orleans. The irony of this is that Louisiana has expanded choice and created the first all-charter school district in the country through the use of greater centralized control.

This strategy of promoting decentralization through centralization is spreading. Thus far, Louisiana’s turnaround has inspired Tennessee, Michigan, and Virginia to adopt similar models.

This paper explains how the Pelican State came to be a bastion for school choice and a model for other states. Specifically, it details how Louisiana has been able to develop a robust school choice system through the state’s Recovery School District (RSD). It is clear from this review that New Orleans would not be the school choice model that it is without the vast authority that has been placed in the hands of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

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About the Author

James Shuls
James Shuls
Distinguished Fellow of Education Policy

James V. Shuls is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Distinguished Fellow in Education Policy at the Show-Me Institute.