The U.S. Justice Department is suing Louisiana in New Orleans federal court to block 2014-15 vouchers for students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders. The first year of private school vouchers “impeded the desegregation process,” the federal government says.
Thirty-four school systems could be affected, including those of Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes. Under the lawsuit, the state would be barred from assigning students in those systems to private schools unless a federal judge agreed to it. A court hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 19.
The statewide voucher program, officially called the Louisiana Scholarship Program, lets low-income students in public schools graded C, D or F attend private schools at taxpayer expense. This year, 22 of the 34 systems under desegregation orders are sending some students to private schools on vouchers.
The Obama administration is couching its ongoing need to keep as many African-Americans poor and uneducated as possible in more favorable (read: less morally depraved) terms: the Justice Department is pretending that they’re worried that taking black kids out of black public schools and putting them in white private schools will make the former more segregated. I suspect that the original official reaction to that bit of mendacity was originally a good deal more red-haze-across-his-vision (same article):
State Education Superintendent John White took issue with the suit’s primary argument and its characterization of the program. Almost all the students using vouchers are black, he said. Given that framework, “it’s a little ridiculous” to argue that students’ departure to voucher schools makes their home school systems less white, he said. He also thought it ironic that rules set up to combat racism were being called on to keep black students in failing schools.
It’s only ironic if you don’t remind yourself: teachers’ unions have campaign money, and minority kids do not.
*Not that Woodrow Wilson ever specifically tried to keep African-Americans from getting an education, as far as I know (probably because he never got around to it before his stroke). Still, he had a bit of a mania when it came to targeting black people; and if you’re the sort of person who venerates the man then I kind of want you to be offended, sight unseen.