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.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.