Tags: Jeb | Bush | School | Vouchers

Jeb Bush Calls DOJ Lawsuit on La. School Voucher Program 'Payback'

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 08:10 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday said the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Louisiana over school vouchers might be politically motivated.

"This is purely political, perhaps payback for political elections of the past," Bush said in a speech at the National Press Club, Politico reports.

"I have no idea why they have made this decision, but I do know for a fact that we need to transform our education system state by state to assure that more than just 25 or 30 percent of our kids are college- or career-ready."

Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina spoke against the lawsuit at the Press Club in Washington. Under the Louisiana Scholarship Program, low-income students may transfer from poorly performing public schools into private schools at taxpayer expense.

The Justice Department filed suit in August, saying it wanted to block the program next school year in districts with desegregation orders, Politico reports. It contends that the racial balance at those schools could be disrupted if the students are allowed to use vouchers to make transfers.

Bush and Jindal questioned why Justice was suing Louisiana over the school voucher program, echoing past claims that the lawsuit translated into trapping minority students in failing schools, Politico reports.

Of 70 Louisiana districts, 34 are under federal desegregation orders. Students in 22 of those districts are using vouchers. In early September, Louisiana asked the federal court to place Justice's lawsuit on hold.

Most of the nearly 8,000 Louisiana students using the vouchers this school year are black, Politico reports.

Jindal challenged President Barack Obama to visit with the parents and children who participate in the voucher program and talk with them directly about how the program impacts their lives.

"I repeat my invitation to the president and the attorney general,” Jindal said in his speech at the Press Club, according to Politico. “They need to drop this lawsuit.

"At the very least, they need to come to Louisiana to meet face to face with these moms and dads and their kids and explain to them why the Obama administration, why this Department of Justice, don’t think that these children deserve a great education."

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