Justice Dept. Tries to Stop Louisiana School Vouchers

Sunday, 25 Aug 2013 07:22 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The U.S. Justice Department is trying to stop Louisiana from distributing school vouchers in any district that remains under a desegregation court order.

In papers filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the Justice Department said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to nearly 600 public school students in districts that are still under such orders, and "many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process."

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal called the department's action "shameful" and said President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder "are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools against the wishes of their parents."

"The Obama administration thinks parents should have to seek their approval any time parents want to send their child to a school of their choice," Jindal said in a news release. "After generations of being denied a choice, parents finally can choose a school for their child, but now the federal government is stepping in to prevent parents from exercising this right. Shame on them. Parents should have the ability to decide where to send their child to school."

Louisiana has 70 school districts, and 34 remain under desegregation court orders, many of which are decades old.

The Justice Department said Louisiana has given vouchers this school year to students in at least 22 districts remaining under desegregation orders. It's asking the court, starting with the 2014-15 school year, to permanently block the state from awarding vouchers in districts that are under desegregation orders, unless those districts seek court approval.

Louisiana lawmakers approved a voucher program in 2008 for low-income New Orleans students who were in failing schools. The Louisiana Scholarship Program was later expanded statewide. It allows children in school districts graded C, D or F to receive public money to attend private schools.

Jindal called school choice "a moral imperative."

"Make no mistake - this motion is a threat to the children in our state who only get one chance to grow up and deserve the opportunity to get the best education so they can pursue their dreams," Jindal said of the Justice Department filing.

A federal desegregation lawsuit for Louisiana was originally filed in 1971 and court papers list the case as closed in 1976. However, there have been several filings in the case in the past several months, including the one Saturday by the Justice Department.

In arguing that the voucher program had hurt desegregation efforts, the Justice Department cited an example of Independence Elementary School in Tangipahoa Parish. It said the school lost five white students because of the voucher program, "reinforcing the racial identity of the school as a black school." It also said Celilia Primary School in St. Martin Parish School District is a majority-white school in a majority-black district, and it lost six black students because of vouchers, "reinforcing the school's racial identity as a white school."

State Education Superintendent John White told the Times-Picayune that almost all the students using vouchers are black and "it's a little ridiculous" to argue that students' departure to voucher schools makes their home school systems less white. He also said it's ironic that rules established to combat racism were being called on to keep black students in failing schools.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

North Korea Denounces Obama for Shutting Down Its Internet

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 23:49 PM

North Korea called President Barack Obama a monkey and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid . . .

Obama Contradicts Polls, Says Racial Divisions Reduced

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 19:37 PM

The nation is less racially divided today than it was six years ago, President Barack Obama says. In an excerpt from a 4 . . .

Foundation's Scott Neil: Injured Green Berets Need Your Help

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 16:42 PM

A group of dedicated military veterans is asking for help in their quest to provide financial assistance to Green Berets . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved