Worth a read: Noel Hammat’s op-ed on Jindal, the DOJ and vouchers
Jindal and White
Gov. Bobby Jindal and state Superintendent John White are outraged — outraged, I declare! — over the federal Department of Justice’s insidious overreach and meddling in the school voucher program, casting the DOJ as President Obama incarnate standing in the schoolhouse door like George Wallace blocking the families of poor black children from exercising “parental choice” and denying those children the salvation of a quality education. They've enlisted the national GOP to feign a screaming fit on behalf of the chirrens, too.
But as Noel Hammat, a member of the Coalition for Louisiana Public Education and former president of the Louisiana School Board Association, points out in a guest column in The Daily Advertiser, Jindal et al are cravenly misrepresenting the DOJ’s position even as they use an argument they falsely attribute to the DOJ to fight parental choice in one of the poorest parishes in the state. It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.
The DOJ didn’t block the voucher program as it stands, Hammat points out; it merely asked that no future vouchers be awarded until the state follows federal law and demonstrates that the vouchers distributed in parishes that remain under federal desegregation oversight will not run afoul of federal law.
So how is JindalCo. being hypocritical?
Because attorneys for White went to federal court on June 13 seeking to block low-income African-American families from exercising parental choice in St. Helena Parish, one of the lowest income districts in the state.
White asked the court to deny choice to those parents who wanted their children out of his “Recovery School District” Middle School. Why? According to White’s filing: “This court should consider St. Helena’s request looking at it from the desegregation mindset.” And then: “If St. Helena is allowed to add additional grades to its elementary school and high school that could possibly create a greater desegregation issue rather than helping to remedy the one at hand.”
So the DOJ is attacked for asking that White abide by desegregation orders, and is not denying choice to any parents. While White, on the other hand, is actually using a desegregation case to deny parents in St. Helena Parish any school choice. This is hypocrisy run amok.
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