When the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Louisiana’s voucher program, on grounds that it threatened to undermine court-ordered desegregation, Jindal went on a well-publicized rant against the DOJ, claiming politics. Suddenly, Jindal presented himself as a leader of he civil rights movement, trying to save poor black kids from failing public schools. His op-eds appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and other media. Shocking that the U.S. Department of Justice was upholding court orders intended to protect the roghts of black children!
Jeb Bush rushed to Jindal’s side, claiming that the voucher program was already showing amazing results. So did GOP leaders in Congress, including John Boehner.
Of course, none of this was true.
The courts in Louisiana said the funding for the voucher program was unconstitutional. So many voucher schools taught creationism and lacked qualified teachers that the voucher program made the state an international laughingstock.
The test scores of the students in the voucher schools were appallingly low, but, hey, there’s always next year.
Here Louisiana blogger CenLamar shows how cynical Jindal was.
He writes: here about Jindal’s claims:
“Unfortunately, that’s just not true. None of it. The truth is, from the very beginning, Bobby Jindal and John White worked with a group of highly-paid political consultants to market the voucher program, almost exclusively, to African-Americans. The Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities (or LA BAEO) was created, seemingly out of thin air, by a national organization of conservative “school choice” activists, and they spent months touring the state and recruiting African-Americans to participate in the program, with very little understanding of the public schools they were attempting to disparage as “failures.” For example, about a year ago, I got into a Twitter exchange with one of LA BAEO’s principal consultants over remarks he had made about Peabody Magnet High School in my hometown of Alexandria. Peabody may not be an academic powerhouse, but it is a damn good school with an amazing campus and a deep connection with its community. But nonetheless, LA BAEO held town hall meetings in Alexandria in an attempt to convince parents to take their kids out of Peabody and, instead, enroll them in voucher schools. It didn’t seem to matter that the voucher schools in Central Louisiana are, with only a few exceptions, fly-by-night church schools with shoddy facilities, questionable finances, and uncertified teachers.
“See, the real issue– and how Bobby Jindal duped John Boehner– is that, on the whole, Louisiana’s voucher schools are significantly worse than the public schools. Jindal and Boehner both argue that Louisiana’s voucher program provides students with the opportunity to seek a “better education.” In reality, however, Louisiana’s voucher program is comprised, in large part, of unaccountable and completely unregulated schools, many of which rely on thoroughly discounted, ahistorical, and anti-scientific curricula.
“Last year, voucher students scored thirty points less on the LEAP test than their peers in public schools. Notably, while Superintendent White and Governor Jindal love to use test results as a way of gauging the performance of public schools, neither of them were willing to make the same argument against the dramatically worse performance of voucher schools.”
CenLamar sums up Jindal’s voucher program: “We’re not sending 91% of Louisiana’s voucher students to the best and most important voucher schools. This is not about integrating African-American students in traditionally and well-established and high-performing private schools; this is nothing to do with integration and almost everything to do with quietly re-codifying segregation.”