Jindal (R-La.), who is frequently touted as a potential contender in the 2016 Republican presidential race, pushed the legislation through the state’s legislature in April. Two statewide teachers’ associations and a group of school boards filed legal challenges shortly thereafter.
Jindal said in a statement Friday afternoon that he would appeal the ruling.
In addition to the lawsuits, the program was criticized for letting students attend religious schools that teach Young Earth Creationism — the belief that the universe is no older than 10,000 years.
One possible solution: The legislature could appropriate money to pay private-school tuition from the state's general fund, rather than digging into the separate pot of money set aside for public education. General fund money has been used for several years without court challenge to pay for a much smaller voucher program in New Orleans.
But finding funds to pay private-school tuition statewide could be tough; the tab is expected to hit about $25 million this year and could rise sharply if, as state officials expect, more private schools open up seats for voucher students and more families apply for the aid. Louisiana has been hit hard by the recession and has made several painful budget cuts in recent years, including sharp cuts to the public hospital system.
Monaghan, the teachers union president, all but dared the governor to seek a general fund appropriation for the voucher program, betting it wouldn't fly in an age of austerity. "The next move is for the governor," he said.
In a statement, Jindal didn't tip his hand about his tactics but did issue a forceful vow to defend his signature program. The opportunity to attend private schools, he said, "is a chance that every child deserves, and we will continue the fight to give it to them."
We have had a lot of stories since the election about how the Republicans can come back from the thrashing they got from the ladies, the browns, and the blahs. The most popular theory is that they should bring forth their own ladies, and browns, and blahs as candidates the next time around, and at the top of that list is "Bobby" Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, and the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association. For some reason, which obviously doesn't account for his fall into the orchestra pit in his first major national TV appearance, and obviously doesn't account for the fact that he was the last person on earth who thought Rick Perry should be president, Jindal is considered to be the cutting edge in Republican presidential timber.
Except, of course, that Jindal is a religious crackpot.
Over the past year, Jindal has managed to marry educational "reform" grifting to Christian theocracy by allowing charter schools in his state to employ to teach from Jesus-on-a-dinosaur creationist textbooks. Well, today, a local judge pretty much blew up the whole system on him. If the funding system is unconstitutional, then the problem of Louisiana's schoolchildren being taught theories from Fantasy Island goes down with it. And "Bobby" will have something very interesting to talk himself out of come 2016.
Louisiana’s school-choice program is a public education program — if we rethink what public education means. That’s exactly what state policymakers across the country should be doing. They should think not in terms of government buildings, but of educating the public. That education can happen in a variety of settings: public schools, private schools, charter schools, online learning, homeschooling, or any combination of these options. School choice ensures that students have access to options that meet their unique learning needs.
Nearly 5,000 children will learn this weekend that they might not be able to continue attending the schools chosen by their parents. To learn from the teachers that they believe in.
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