“A Louisiana teachers union is threatening private schools with legal action if they accept money from a new voucher program and the threat has already forced at least one school to put its participation in the program on hold,” Fox News reported last week. “The demand was sent a few weeks ago by law firm representing the Louisiana Association of Educators and several other interests, and it argues the state-approved program is illegal because participating schools would be receiving an unconstitutional payment of public funds.”
This cheap and dirty intimidation tactic is being used because the teachers union has already failed to stop the law in court. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled school choice programs are constitutional.
It’s interesting to see the teachers unions take this approach; they apparently have decided against actually defending the state’s public education system — for good reason. Even by the generous “grading” system Louisiana uses, most of its schools fail to meet basic standards.
So instead, the unions are bullying private schools and criticizing the curriculum some of them use.
“Under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping new school voucher program, tens of millions of Louisiana taxpayer dollars will be used to offer vouchers to more than half of the state’s poor and middle-class public school students,” the Huffington Post reports. “These students can in turn use these vouchers to attend more than 120 private schools, including a number of small, Bible-based learning institutions that boast extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums while championing creationism.”
Last month, the Washington Post joined in with the claim that “a biology textbook used by a Christian school in Louisiana that will be accepting students with publicly funded vouchers in the fall says that the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland is real.”
But the Post and other news outlets that repeated this claim failed to substantiate it. There’s no evidence any school is teaching that.
That’s all smoke and mirrors. The program empowers parents to make their own choices and do what they feel is best for their children.
Will some of them — many of them, in fact — choose private schools over the public schools? Of course.
But the education establishment in Louisiana has no one to blame but itself for that.