Sunday, August 25, 2013

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: “The Louisiana Voucher Program is Illegal”

Reposted by  dianerav in the Diane Ravitch Blog |

August 25, 2013 // This post by one of Louisiana’s great bloggers [LaMar White, Jr @]  reports that the state’s voucher program undermines federal desegregation orders.  Pesky things, the Constitution, the law, and court orders.


2centssmf chimes in: Gov. Jindal was on Meet the Press this morning, sandwiched between the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Poison gas attacks in Syria, Obamacare bashing and Impeach the President hysteria (are the tea partiers smoking that stuff?)  whining about how the Feds are picking on his poor Charter heavy/Voucher loaded/school ®eform program in Louisiana. If you call them “scholarships” they can’t be vouchers, right?

This court action almost invites the U.S. Dept of Ed to file an Amicus Brief in support of Louisiana, which was one of the first states awarded a NCLB waiver and a recipient of Race to the Top Phase I, II and III grants. FEMA funds to rebuild New Orleans schools after Katrina went almost exclusively to charter schools.

I’m pretty sure Arne Duncan isn’t that dumb – but I have been wrong before.

Cenlamar writes:

Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice asked Judge Ivan Lemelle to issue an injunction preventing the State of Louisiana from providing taxpayer-subsidized school vouchers in 2014 to students residing in any of the thirty-four parishes currently subjected to federal desegregation orders. In simple terms, Governor Bobby Jindal, Superintendent John White, and the Louisiana Department of Education have been completely unable and unwilling to provide the federal government with sufficient evidence that their controversial school voucher program complies with the law. Because Superintendent John White and his team at the Louisiana Department of Education could not or would not provide the federal government with documentation demonstrating their compliance, the Department of Justice was, essentially, forced to go to court. Quoting from the lawsuit (bold mine):

Only after filing multiple motions in this case and receiving an order of this Court (see Record Docs. No. 109-202), did the United States finally receive, in March of 2013, the information and data it requested from the State. After analyzing the data, the United States determined that the State’s voucher awards appeared to impede the desegregation process in 34 schools in 13 districts. On May 17, 2013, the United States sent a letter to the State… requesting that the State cease its practice of awarding vouchers to students attending school districts operating under federal desegregation orders unless and until it receives approval from the presiding federal court. The State has not responded to that letter and, on information and belief of the United States, has already awarded vouchers for the 2013-2014 school year to students attending school districts operating under desegregation orders.


To date, the State has awarded vouchers for 2013-2014 to students in 22 of the 34 school districts with pending federal desegregation orders. See supra at notes 3-4 and Exhibit E. Upon information and belief, the State did not seek the approval of the appropriate federal court prior to awarding the vouchers to students in these districts. Further, the State did not contact the parties to the federal desegregation cases prior to awarding vouchers. Upon information and belief of the United States, the State did not evaluate the impact the vouchers would have on the desegregation process in any of the school districts operating under a federal desegregation order.

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