The Justice Department says the State of Louisiana is not authorized to provide private school scholarships to low-income students attending poor performance schools.
But Governor Bobby Jindal is resisting.
The Louisiana Governor, in a recent Washington Post editorial, said the government’s lawsuit against his state “…would rip children out of their schools and handcuff them to the failing schools they previously attended.” While the Justice Department has long sought to even the educational field for students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds, they appear to be taking on a state and governorship that scores high marks in regards to progressive educational reform, something the Obama Administration has spoken favorably about but has not followed through with.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Louisiana has lagged behind the national average in math, reading, science, and writing, but the state has improved across all disciplines since 2002. While Louisiana is still struggling with its K-12 education, progressive reform may be just what the state needs if it wants to prepare its students – especially low-income students – for a better future. Historically Louisiana has suffered from a poor perception of educational standards, but according to Students First, the education advocacy group run by Michelle Rhee (the controversial former chancellor of the D.C. public schools system), Louisiana garners nearly perfect scores with its efforts to evaluate and reward its best teachers and principals.
The Justice Department’s action towards Governor Jindal and the State of Louisiana could have adverse consequences for economically disadvantaged students in Louisiana, but it could also foreshadow a larger implication for states looking to proactively reform K-12 education in the future.
Photo by Derek Bridges