• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Louisiana Teachers Union Threatens to Sue Voucher Schools

    The left’s tactic of intimidation is at work again, this time in Louisiana. The Louisiana Association of Educators is threatening litigation against private parochial schools in the state that plan to accept voucher students this fall.

    This past Wednesday, private schools that have elected to participate in the new statewide school choice option received a letter from the union’s attorney threatening that litigation would be brought against them unless they signed a letter informing the Louisiana Department of Education that they will not be accepting voucher students.

    The Pelican Institute writes that “while it has become commonplace for unions to challenge state school choice programs on constitutional grounds, threatening the schools that offer to accept voucher students appears to be unprecedented.” Pelican continues:

    Clint Bolick, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, has argued and won landmark cases in state and federal court on behalf of school choice programs around the nation. “In over two decades of school choice advocacy, I’ve never seen thuggery of this magnitude. What the unions can’t accomplish in the courtroom, they’re trying to achieve through bullying schools whose only offense is offering educational opportunities to children who need them.”

    Just two weeks ago, a judge in Louisiana blocked an injunction request by the union that would have prevented funding of the voucher program. An appellate court subsequently dismissed the union’s request for an appeal. So they have, as the Fordham Institute’s Adam Emerson writes, “turned to bullying the schools.” At least one school has reportedly pulled out of the voucher program as a result of union intimidation.

    Schools, parents, and policymakers in Louisiana, who have pushed to have one of the broadest choice programs in the country, should not bend to union strong-arm tactics. These tactics are to be expected, but they should serve as a sign that the unions are grasping at straws to try to maintain the status quo—and it won’t work.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Louisiana Teachers Union Threatens to Sue Voucher Schools

    1. Unions don't work in Louisiana because we know what they're really about. I applaud our school reforms. Only the parents that care and are in bad school districts are the ones who should make the decision for their children. Unions are bullies that hold everyone back by dragging us down with the weak and don't give a damns.

    2. spike says:

      I, for one, believe this article to be very misleading. 1st. You don't name the 1 school that you claim to have pulled out from voucher program because of said intimidation. 2nd, Parochial schools are religious schools and I do have a problem with "our" tax dollars being used for religious education. BTW: I do have experience in this area and know what I am talking about. 3rd, Let's call the voucher program exactly what it is. A means by way of financially starving the public education system of badly needed funding to the end of eliminating the public education all together. I find it absolutely amazing and immoral that you are pushing an agenda that, previous to 30 years ago, would have been considered insane and laughable.

      • Sandhillguy says:

        Oooooh. "Starving the system."

        I have news for you. The system exists to serve the children. Not the other way around, as you union goons seem to believe.

        • spike says:

          I, for one, am not a union goon. Never belonged or worked in a union shop. In saying that, I do know how I have benefited from union influences in my industry. (truck driving and laborer) But, this is not the issue I was addressing directly. Where is the evidence that Miss Burke left out? And since when is it ok to spend "our" tax dollars on religious education? And speaking of LA schools, they are having an issue with charter schools receiving roughly $78,000 per student. And you're concerned that a union may stop their teachers wages and benefits from being cut because of lack of funds. Opens your eyes and minds to the highway robbery going on right under your noses under the guise of "Union goons,bully teachers and socialist-facist mind control" Are you kidding me. Sounds a little crazy, huh???

          • iggyb says:

            It's spending tax dollars on the choice of a private school. Which is up to the parents. This has already been established in the Supreme Court as constitutional.

            Think of the GI Bill. Somebody who served in the military can use those funds to attend any college of his/her choice – including private religious universities such as Notre Dame or BYU.

            Another point – the vouchers typically don't take all the money allocated for a student from that school the student is leaving. I don't know the specifics of LA, but a district here in Colorado would credit (if they can beat the unions in court in their attempt to block it) 75% of the money to the parent for spending at another school. So, a school losing a student still receives 25% of the money that would be used to educate that student.

            But even if you think vouchers are bad, the tactics that the unions are using to block this is simply shameful. Then again, it looks like union leaders in the public sector have absolutely no shame.

      • Robert says:

        Public funding should only go to schools that the parents approve of. But the parents don't approve of the public schools as they exist. As they exist the parents don't approve. Why is that?

      • Bobbie says:

        you're tax dollars doesn't pay for private education!! No tax dollars should go to any education outside of general!

        What's wrong with ending the public education and the expense, where everyone who isn't a paid teacher gets their money taken from their paychecks to pay teachers that fail in education? America shouldn't need government controlled jobs training programs in the 21st century if children were properly educated! People once had a genuine dignity to teach where unfortunate circumstances not within their control but still consequential, didn't bother them as long as their wisdom could make a difference in the lives of the youth. Today there's a mindset of people who just want union teachers pay without merit in making a positive difference in the children they stand before and will go on strike in the blink of an eye with all kinds of protections, money and benefits! No accountability necessary!!! Dummy up the kids to dummy down America! Trillions wasted and trillions more in remedial education! Making change contrary to positive.

      • Bogusbob says:

        Which union are you running spikee?? 30 years ago, the public ed. system was still educating students. I know of many religious schools that are head and shoulders above any public school here in Ca. the public schools have been taken over by the unions. Unions are basically socialististic, and fall right into obama's manifesto of brain washing the little heads full of mush. Private schools and home schooled kids are way ahead of the public schools in actually educating the kids today.

        • spike says:

          Mr Bob, 30 yrs ago our parents had left us lots of fine things that their parents and grandparents had left to them. We, on the other hand, have been nothing but spoiled children squandering their legacy. Instead of leaving something better for our children and grandchildren, we been uninvolved and lazy. When we do see a problem we find it easier to tear the entire thing apart instead of being thoughtful and set to fixing it. Now it's vouchers, eventually you will decide that no one else should have these vouchers because you will determine they are undeserving. Where does it end Mr Bob? Does "separate but equal" sound good? How bout just separate? How should we separate? By political affiliation? Sex? Religion? Or maybe by worth? And what side of the fence may you fall? Will your children be on that side? Just something to think about……

      • spike says:

        Uhhhh, let's see. I already posted that I am not nor have I ever been affiliated with any union for starters. I can tell you now that if you are dissatisfied with the schools in your districts, then get involved. You do have that right which you do not have in a private setting. Also, I paid for a child to get a private/catholic education from 3rd grade thru 12th. Yes, it was expensive but it was also my choice based on that child. I did not feel that I was owed a "hand out" because I chose private over public. It would seem to me that based on some of these arguments, you just want to hand your children off to others and not have another worry. Unions are not the problem. They are just another democracy that requires participation by those involved and it seems to me that many of you expect a perfect world without having to do the work. Are you on a school board? Do you go to parent/teacher meetings? Do you attend union meetings and vote for your representatives? I kind of doubt it. You may only participate once as to not be bothered again. It is that attitude that has us where we are now. At each others throats and pointing fingers at who "they" tell you to. It is truly a shame that our fore-fathers and many others have fought, sacrificed and died for your right to sit on your rears and point fingers at your neighbors and whine when things get tough while when times were better you did nothing but gloat about your successes. You should be pointing that finger at your selves.

        • iggyb says:

          So…you pretty much stated that it's okay for you to send a kid to private school, but for low-income parents who can't afford it, they don't get that opportunity.

          And it's not a "hand out". Those are tax dollars that you pay into the system. All vouchers do is give you, as the parent (think "customer") more power to determine the future of your child's education.

          As far as thinking that unions are a democracy….I now believe that you are not in a union. When your dues go to candidates that you don't support, or when union leaders block a vote from even happening on important issues pertaining to union members…you don't have a democracy.

          And yes, I've been to all the PTCs that have been available. School boards here are almost impossible to be voted into, as the unions actually fund campaigns for their hand-picked candidates – something that people like me cannot effectively compete in.

          I find it ironic that when parents want to have more say in their children's education, you say that it's because we're lazy and don't want to be involved in our children's education. Truly inane.

      • The current education system is broken. Nearly every charter school I have been in produces a better "product" with out the low level "liberal" indoctrination. They are effect, and they are popular for that reason. Mediocrity should not be SOP, just because it's a "government" school. Catering to the lowest denominator has got to stop.

    3. Nick Kavadas. says:

      The one school that caved to union pressure should be ashamed. It's time people stood up for their rights, instead of trying to avoid litigation costs.

    4. Tim Kern says:

      Dear Ms. Burke:
      What makes you think that the threat of lawsuits won't work in this case, alone?

      At the very least, these threats cloud the issue and divert scarce resources; suits themselves cost thousands, at minimum — the US doesn't have a "loser pays" civil system.

      What's next — threatening the individual families?

    5. beabet says:

      tell the unions it called comp pa tion; just like the rest of the u.s.a. compete; then at the end of the year have a real contest. it is called s.a.t scores; bravo; if u dont like to compete get out of the business;

    6. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Vouchers are bad news for the teachers' unions. Why? They break up their monopoly.

    7. SilentCalFan says:

      I hope some lawyer sues the teachers' union and their lawyers for violation of the civil rights of the schools and their students, and also files an ethics complaint against the union's lawyers. This attempt to intimidate is as low as it gets. I went to a parochial school many years ago. The entire staff consisted of seven nuns, one lay teacher, and a janitor. A school like that cannot possibly afford to defend a lawsuit. Perhaps the legislature should consider following Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's successful plan to reduce the power of the unions.

    8. Kairho says:

      Please just be aware that there are many, many folks on the left who also decry such tactics.

    9. Steve in Tulsa says:

      This is how the totalitarian democrat fascists will run your lives: no choice in education/indoctrination. No choice in health care. No choice is the size of your soda or size of your fries. Your choice under the democrats is to bend over and take it and then give up your pay. I already pay half my paycheck to the government. HALF! And democrats want more of it to 'spread around the wealth'. Well I am not wealthy! Stop taking all my money! We have to get these greedy mad spending democrat fascists out of our country befor ethey finish destroying it.

    10. 2ents says:

      There is choice. But you have to PAY for it yourself and NOT use tax dollars. I think this says, "the private schools are better than the public schools. So since we can't improve the public schools, we'll just PAY for you to go to the private schools." You pay, you choose. If you mooch tax dollars, you go where you are told to go. Easy fix. NO MORE FREEBY GIVAWAYS. Pay your own way and go where you choose.

      • Bud says:

        2cents, your argument sounds good until you stop to think who can afford to pay. The rich can pay for a private education, the poor cannot. Remember the tax dollars you refer to are paid by everybody, in one way or another. Studies on California show that a public education costs double what a parochial school education costs. A few years back it a voucher proposal allocated half the cost of a year of public education to every school child. It would have paid for my two kids to attend the school of our choice, and the state would have paid half as much than they would for their public education. The unions campaigned against the measure, it failed by a small margin, and now the state is broke. Worse than broke. The schools are failing, even though they now are among the most expensive in the nation. I was lucky, I paid for my kids education TWICE! Once for their tuition, and a second time for the taxes that funded schools I never took advantage of. And my kids got a GREAT education. Why should the lucky, the successful, the wealthy be the only ones who can receive good schooling? Why should those who cannot afford the entry fee to a good education be forced by law to settle for whatever is available in their area that's offered by the NEA and the state? Those who oppose vouchers are pro-wealth, anti-poor.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.