• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Louisiana Unions Fight School Choice, Opportunity for Children

    Friday was a sad day for Louisiana students. In response to a suit brought by education unions, a district court ruled that the Louisiana school choice program’s funding mechanism is unconstitutional.

    The program allows low-income children from underperforming Louisiana public schools to attend private schools of their choice. Sadly, now the educational future of those students hangs in the balance.

    School choice advocates “are expected to appeal the court’s ruling directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court,” noted the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. As a result, the ruling is suspended “so that children are not adversely affected during the appeal process.”

    The Wall Street Journal noted, prior to the court’s decisions, that the lawsuit “is the latest study in how far the education bureaucracy will go to protect its money and power and resist the competition that comes from school choice, even when it means forcing kids to return to schools that steal their futures.”

    The Louisiana Scholarship program, which is in its inaugural year, was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal this past spring. Already 5,000 students are taking part in the program, which has opened the door of academic opportunity for students to leave underperforming public schools—those rated C, D, or F.

    “The tragedy is how many students qualify for the program,” noted the WSJ. “According to the state, 953 of the state’s 1,373 public schools (K–12) were ranked C, D or F.” Despite being consigned to underachieving schools, the unions have gone to extraordinary lengths to deprive children of a lifeline to a better future. They went so far as to send letters to private schools participating in the school choice program, threatening legal action if they accepted voucher students.

    The unions brought their suit claiming that the program is unconstitutional because it takes money away from public schools.

    In reality, asserts WSJ, the union’s complaints against the program aren’t about the “squeeze” to public education but about the threat to the power of education unions, whose “interests have long since taken primacy over providing kids with a decent education. The Louisiana unions know that putting their dismal classrooms into competition with private schools could eventually have students and parents trampling each other in a rush to the exits.”

    The Louisiana case is yet another “par for the course” attempt by unions and special interests to stifle meaningful education reform. As the school choice movement has gained momentum over the last few years—achieving historic levels of educational opportunity for students—the unions have fought tooth and nail to block school choice legislation. Once these bills have passed, unions have time and again attempted to bring suit against the programs.

    “I don’t know how you defend the status quo,” Governor Jindal said. “I don’t know how you look a child or parent in the eye and say wait. They only have one chance to grow up. We have spent decades and billions of dollars doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    He added:

    Choice works. Competition works. Accountability works. There’s no reason we can’t do this, not only across our state but across the country.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Louisiana Unions Fight School Choice, Opportunity for Children

    1. Milton Richards says:

      It just occurred to me in reading this article how opposite this is to Obamacare.

      School vouchers [or equivalent programs] by DESIGN introduce competition and accountability into the education system. That is why the unions are so opposed.

      Obamacare BY DESIGN will remove competition and accountability from the healthcare insurance industry. This is exactly why the unions (and Progressives) are pushing it so hard.

      Takeaway? We are NOT losing the battle on ALL fronts.

      Keep the faith!

    2. guest says:

      Unions are destroying our dear country. I am so so tired of not being able to win. We cannot continue to let the Left destroy our country.

    3. Liz says:

      “The tragedy is how many students qualify for the program,” noted the WSJ. “According to the state, 953 of the state’s 1,373 public schools (K–12) were ranked C, D or F.”

      If 69% of a state's schools are that bad, then why not fix them?

      • jwmurrayjr says:

        Educators, who are living off the tax payers, and unions who are living off the teachers, don't want to fix schools. I doubt if they would even know how. That is not the agenda of government schools.

    4. Kay says:

      In our school district, there is a difference between "school choice" and a "voucher" to attend a private school. School "choice" allows a child from a "failing" public school to attend a high-ranking PUBLIC school.

      • O2BMe says:

        If you notice in Louisiana there are not enough high ranking schools to absorb all the students from the failing ones. Let the tax money follow the child and give the parents the choice: high ranking public school or private.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      This has and never will be about giving children a good education. It's about union power! The power to control what childern learn and who teaches them. It's about starting the Marxist indoctrination at the earliest possible age so by the time these young minds are old enough to vote, they know only one ideology, the ideology of the left.

    6. I didn't understand the motto of the program that allows low-income children from underperforming Louisiana public schools to attend private schools of their choice,by this the educational future of those students hangs in the balance..So there should be some equality..

    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.