August 26 2013

DOJ Bean Counters Try to Block Educational Opportunity

Vicki E. Alger

The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Louisiana in New Orleans federal court to block voucher scholarships for students in public schools that are under federal desegregation orders.

Louisiana’s Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program launched in 2008 and awards scholarships worth an average of $5,300 to nearly 5,000 students from low-income families assigned to failing public schools. The program is so popular, last year there were five times as many applicants as expected.

Earlier this year the State Supreme Court struck down the program's previous funding mechanism, so the legislature provided funding for some 8,000 students in the annual budget instead. Enter the DOJ, which insists letting kids move to better schools upsets the public school system’s racial balance. Because after all, the system, not students, is what's most important.

It names two whole public schools that lost less than a dozen students altogether to better performing private schools because of the voucher program. As Yehoshua Bedrick writes in Jay P. Greene’s Blog:

In the name of civil rights, the Department of Justice is trying to prevent black families from exercising school choice.

Following on the heels of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ridiculous lawsuit against Alabama’s new school choice law, which contends that if a law doesn’t help everyone it can’t help anyone, the U.S. Department of Justice is suing to block the state of Louisiana’s school voucher program for low-income students and students assigned to failing public schools.

A review by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice confirms that private schools are more integrated than public schools, student performance is better, and students succeed at a fraction of what it costs to send children to public schools.

Better education through private schools and parental choice instead of an expensive government program? No wonder the Department of Justice wants to put a stop to all this.

 

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