For Senator Landrieu, ensuring an excellent education for all children is a top priority. Senator Landrieu is committed to improving educational opportunities for children in Louisiana and across the country, from birth through college. She is proud to support the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that are currently revitalizing schools in New Orleans and serving as an example for school systems throughout the United States.
Promoting Charter School Quality
As co-chair of the Senate Public Charter School Caucus, Senator Landrieu has been an outspoken advocate of high-quality charter schools. She successfully included language in the FY12 Omnibus from her Charter School Quality Actthat requires any state receiving funds from the Federal Charter Schools Program to ensure that its public charter schools conduct annual, independent, and timely financial audits filed with their authorizer. The language also requires authorizers to use student performance and growth as primary factors in assessing charter schools and determining whether to renew or revoke a charter. Thanks to Senator Landrieu’s championship, the FY12 Omnibus federal spending bill also reserves $11 million for the Charter Schools Program to improve quality and oversight and provide assistance to charter school authorizers to increase the number of high-performing schools.
Fighting to Sustain the Pell Grant Program
As a college education becomes more necessary than ever, tuitions are on the rise. Average tuition rates have almost tripled since 1990, with the average tuition now sitting at over $17,500. Pell grants are helping nearly one-third of all undergraduate students in Louisiana afford their college education. In November 2011, Senator Landrieu spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of maintaining Pell grant funding. As a result efforts by Senator Landrieu and several of her colleagues, the FY12 Omnibus federal spending bill maintained the maximum Pell award of $5,550. Watch highlights of her floor speech fighting for Pell grants.
Providing Financial Relief to Hurricane-Impacted HBCUs
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Senator Landrieu included language in the 2006 Supplemental Appropriations bill to create the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program, which gave impacted HBCUs access to low-interest, long-term rebuilding loans from the U.S. Department of Education. Participating HBCUs have been paying off the loans but are now faced with a slower recovery than expected, a global economic recession, and the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In response to these new challenges, Senator Landrieu included a provision in the FY12 Omnibus federal spending bill that allows the U.S. Secretary of Education to modify the terms of the loans and help these HBCUs continue on the path to a full recovery.
Supporting Programs that Effectively Improve Teaching
Senator Landrieu fought for a new competitive funding stream to support programs that have effectively increased the quality of the teaching workforce. In the final Fiscal Year 2011 spending bill, Senator Landrieu helped secure a 1% set-aside ($24.7 million) out of the Teacher Quality State Grants program for proven teacher training and enhancement programs like Teach For America and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus federal spending bill, Senator Landrieu helped increase the set-aside to 1.5% ($37.1 million).
Working to Fix No Child Left Behind
Senator Landrieu has been working with a group of moderate Senators to fix No Child Left Behind. As Congress looks to reauthorize and improve No Child Left Behind, Senator Landrieu and her moderate colleagues are pushing for a set of principles that would increase local flexibility, spur innovation, reward success, and ensure transparency and equity.