House Majority Leader Eric Cantor demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder drop a lawsuit over school vouchers being used for private schools, or face the wrath of Congress.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder drop a lawsuit over school vouchers being used for private schools, or face the wrath of Congress.
Cantor, speaking Monday at a Philadelphia charter school, also predicted that all U.S. students will be entitled to school choice within 10 years.
"If the Attorney General does not withdraw this suit, then the United States House will act. We will leave no stone unturned in holding him accountable for this decision," Cantor, a Virginia Republican, told an audience Monday at Freire Charter School. "The Attorney General will have to explain to the American people why he believes poor minority children in Louisiana should be held back."
About 1,000 students apply by lottery for 150 spots in the freshman class at Freire Charter School's high school, where students told Cantor about their Advanced Placement classes and tutoring centers as he toured quiet hallways and classrooms. The school opened about 15 years ago in a former YWCA, after a $3.5 million makeover, according to board chair Thomas A. Caramanico, president of a nearby engineering firm.
Cantor toured the school with Rep. Patrick Meehan, a fellow Republican who represents suburban Philadelphia.
A small group of protesters outside argued that charter schools are draining funds from the embattled public school system in Philadelphia, which barely had enough money to open this year. Retired nurse Rosalind Applewhite, who has grandchildren and great-grandchildren in city schools, said money being spent on prisons and charter schools should go to regular public schools.
"We're taking money out of education for Corrections. If we're not giving it to Corrections, we're giving it to charter schools that it's been shown don't work," said the 67-year-old Applewhite. "If they're not going to listen to us and start funding our public schools, ... we're going to have to find new elected officials."
Cantor, however, said billions have been spent on public school reforms in recent decades, to no avail. He said that one-fourth of U.S. public school students don't graduate high school, and half of those in big cities don't graduate on time.
"The lack of education opportunities cause too many American kids to drop out of school. Most remain in poverty. Others choose a life of crime and some end up in jail. This is the greatest civil rights challenge of our time, and it is up to us to solve it," Cantor said.
Louisiana has had a school voucher program for 20 years, and expanded it to include private schools after Gov. Bobby Jindal took office in 2007. Only students in failing schools with family income below the poverty level are eligible, Cantor said.
At Freire, student Tyrone Williams told the congressmen that his AP classes are challenging, but said Freire teachers remind them the hard work will be worth it when he gets to college.
"We've already had that experience, because we've had college classes," Williams said.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.