The Houma Courier, Houma, La., on school voucher lawsuit being a waste of resources:

Sept. 24

The Houma Courier, Houma, La., on school voucher lawsuit being a waste of resources:

A lawsuit by the federal Justice Department aimed at stopping Louisiana’s school voucher system is a waste of public resources.

The Justice Department has filed suit against Louisiana, claiming its voucher system is hurting the effort to desegregate our schools.

That claim is nonsense.

First, while the voucher program is an important tool that can increase some parents’ options for their children, it affects only about 8,000 of Louisiana’s students — or about 1 percent of the total.

Second, the majority of vouchers are paying for minority students who would otherwise be forced to attend failing schools to go elsewhere.

Third, any program that increases the options taxpayers have — as long as it is administered fairly — is a welcome addition to a state education system that for too long failed the public.

The Justice Department has made no claim that the program is administered unfairly. Instead, it has suggested that some of the students who receive vouchers are white and using them to leave predominantly black public schools. ...

One example cited by the agency is the fact that Independence Elementary School in Tangipahoa Parish lost five white students who used vouchers to attend school elsewhere and thereby “reinforc(ed) the racial identity of the school as a black school.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who championed the voucher program, has attacked the lawsuit, and rightly so. ...

There is no evidence that the voucher program will have any appreciable effect on desegregation. In fact, by giving thousands of black parents more choice in where they send their children to school, it could have a beneficial effect on integration.

This lawsuit seems to use a miniscule number of individual cases to make a sweeping statement that is not backed up by the facts.


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