Activists celebrate National School Choice Week as critical court decision looms

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Activists, parents, teachers, and students celebrated National School Choice Week in Baton Rouge Wednesday with a special breakfast. This week promotes the educational options parents have, whether it's public, private, magnet, charter, or home school.

The breakfast was held at Another Broken Egg Café on Citiplace Court. One of the attendees was Ayrton Little, who gained nationwide fame after a video of him celebrating his acceptance to Harvard University went viral.

"I was really nervous until I saw the congratulations and I was like, I don't know how else to explain it, other than what you saw in the video," said Little. "I'm just looking at all the fruits of my hard work."

The video was posted a week after Little's brother, Alex, was accepted to Stanford. They both attend TM Landry College Prep in Breaux Bridge, roughly a 30-minute drive from their home in Opelousas. They chose the small private school because of its open curriculum, which allows students to explore any subject they want without limitations.

Little is embracing his love of mathematics. He'll be studying computer science with the goal of becoming an investment banker. "I took that opportunity to explore my academic interests and I found out that I really like computer coding," said Little. "So I think that having the ability to explore, it helps you master because you go out and get that information as opposed to someone giving it to you."

TM Landry is one of the unique schooling options activists are promoting. It was founded by Michael Landry 13 years ago. It started as a home school for Landry's own children, then grew to an enrollment of around 160 students. That open curriculum the Littles excelled in is based off Landry's educational philosophy.

"All students work in a different manner," Landry said. "So if we're going to truly achieve greatness, we have to give students opportunities to find what works for them."

National School Choice Week is coincidentally happening as the Louisiana Supreme Court mulls over a critical case for charter schools. A lawsuit against two charter schools claims the state constitution only allows taxpayer dollars to go to city and parish schools. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, roughly 16,000 students would likely be kicked out of their charter schools.

The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFFC) is a group that supports school choice. Their spokeswoman, Kelli Bottger, says they're hopeful the court will rule in favor of the charter schools. "A lot of people have mixed opinions," said Bottger. "A lot of people love their community public schools, a lot of people that have the means to move to good public schools. It's the parents that don't have the means to pick up and move their kids and get into a good schools, is the ones that we really work to cater to because they should have quality options."

The decision was expected to come down on Wednesday, but LFFC was informed the winter weather pushed the decision back. They're told the decision will likely be made on Tuesday, January 30.

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