Education freedom is on the march.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday signed legislation making the Pelican State the 19th state in the nation to enact K-12 Education Savings Accounts or an ESA-style policy, and the 11th to offer education choice to every K-12 student, following Alabama earlier this year.

The legislation creates the Louisiana Giving All True Opportunity to Rise—LA GATOR—Scholarships, which families can use to choose the learning environments that align with their values and work best for their kids.

As with other ESA policies, parents can use the LA GATOR Scholarships to pay for private school tuition, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy, and more.

“The LA Gator Program puts parents in the driver’s seat and gives every child the opportunity for a great education. When parents are committed to the value of their child’s education, government should never get in the way,” said Landry, a Republican. “School choice is now a reality in the state of Louisiana!”

Most students will be eligible for scholarships worth about $5,200 annually, which is just over a third of the average per-pupil spending at Louisiana district schools. Students with special needs and children from low-income families can receive higher scholarship amounts.

The scholarships will initially be limited to students who are switching from a district or charter school, are entering kindergarten, or who are from families earning no more than 250% of the federal poverty level. In the second year, families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty line will be eligible, and in the third year, the scholarships will be open to all K-12 students in Louisiana.

More than a quarter of K-12 students nationwide are currently or soon will be eligible for a publicly funded education choice policy. Including privately funded tax-credit scholarship policies, more than 36% of students nationwide are eligible for a private education choice policy.

The new scholarship policy is an example of how the school choice movement has moved in a more free-market and family-centric direction. Instead of relying on bureaucrats to provide top-down accountability, the new policy trusts parents to provide bottom-up accountability.

The LA GATOR Scholarships will replace the state’s overregulated school voucher program, which produced the nation’s first negative results in a random-assignment study on the effects of a school choice policy on participating students’ academic performance.

Equalitarian” regulations intended to guarantee access and quality—such as open admissions requirements, price controls, and mandating the state test—backfired by chasing away high-performing private schools.

Fortunately, Louisiana lawmakers have learned from their state’s own mistakes, as well as the success of states such as Arizona and Florida, which have shown that a free-market approach to education does a better job of providing a high degree of access and quality.

The new scholarship policy eschews the harmful regulations of its predecessor.

Louisiana’s embrace of universal school choice also shows the success of efforts by conservatives to channel parents’ frustrations over “woke” ideology in traditional public schools into public support for policies that empower parents to choose schools that align with their values.

“Our people seek government that reflects their values,” said Landry during his Jan. 8 inauguration. “They demand that our children be afforded an education that reflects those wholesome principles, and not an indoctrination behind their mother’s back.”

The same week that the Louisiana Legislature gave the green light to the LA GATOR Scholarships, it also approved legislation curbing the ability of “woke” teachers to indoctrinate students in radical gender ideology behind parents’ backs.

Similar to Given Name Act policies in other states, Louisiana’s HB 121 would prohibit public school employees, including teachers, from referring to children by pronouns that are inconsistent with their sex, or any name other than the student’s legal name or common derivatives thereof.

Too often, school officials have begun the process of “socially transitioning” confused children all while keeping their parents in the dark. Going forward, Louisiana schools will no longer be able to subvert and supersede parents by making decisions concerning their children’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being without their knowledge and consent.

Another bill, HB 122, restricts discussion in government-run schools about sexual orientation and gender identity “in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by public school governing authorities.”

The bill properly recognizes that public school teachers are not free agents, but rather public employees hired by the public to perform a particular job. Parents and the public at large expect teachers to carry out the job they were hired to do without exploiting their position to indoctrinate a captive audience of children in a radical ideology.

Louisiana’s school choice win is also evidence that advocates’ short-term hyperpartisan strategy will pay bipartisan dividends in the long term. If Republicans gain an electoral advantage over Democrats by embracing school choice, eventually the Democrats will have to embrace school choice, too. We’re already seeing the signs in places like Louisiana.

When the Louisiana House of Representatives on April 8 passed the bill to create the LA GATOR Scholarships, the vote was 71-32, including six Democrats. That might not sound like a lot, but that’s one-fifth of the Democratic caucus. Moreover, whereas bipartisan efforts to advance school choice legislation typically involve bills to create small, targeted, and overregulated policies like the one the LA GATOR Scholarships are replacing, these Democrats voted for a Republican-led effort to enact education choice for all.

There’s still a long way to go. After all, most of the Louisiana House Democrats and all the state Senate Democrats voted against school choice. But as education choice policies become the norm and not just the exception, it will be increasingly difficult for members of any political party to stand in their way.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since publication.