Monday, December 03, 2012

Court Strikes Down Bobby Jindal;s Voucher Plan Benefiting Religious Schools

Some in the Republican Party and the pundit class are lauding Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as a possible new face in the GOP that can lead the party out of its post election defeat and in a more modern direction.  Unfortunately, these voices ignore the fact that it is the GOP's policies and toxic marriage to the Christofascists that is the true problem.  Propping up a non-white face like that of Marco Rubio or Jindal doesn't solve the GOP's underlying sickness.  Now a court in Louisiana has struck down Bobby Jindal's school voucher program that allowed parents to use public funds to pay private and particularly religious school tuition.  In addition to the court's ruling, the voucher program is under investigation for its possible guise as a way to circumvent federal desegregation orders.  This is not the type of programs a "new GOP" would be pushing.  It's merely the same old pig with a new tube of lipstick.  Here are highlights from Reuters:

A state judge on Friday shot down Louisiana's sweeping school voucher program, ruling that the state could not use funds set aside for public education to pay private-school tuition for thousands of low- and middle-income children.

While State District Judge Tim Kelley ruled the voucher program unconstitutional, he did not issue an immediate injunction to stop it. The 5,000 students currently receiving vouchers will be able to continue attending their private schools pending an appeal, state officials said.

But Kelley's ruling is not the only challenge facing the voucher program.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled that the program had the potential to disrupt the region's court-ordered efforts to desegregate public schools. The judge issued a temporary injunction halting the use of vouchers in Tangipahoa Parish over concern that the program was siphoning off state dollars needed to implement the desegregation plan.

While that ruling just applied to the one parish, at least 30 other school districts in Louisiana are under desegregation orders; opponents of the voucher program have said they will bring similar federal court cases in those districts.

They may not need to take such action, however, if Friday's ruling is upheld. Kelley issued his 39-page decision after a brief but emotional trial in a case brought by two teachers unions, dozens of local school boards and the state school board association.

 Judge Kelley ruled that Louisiana's annual education appropriation, calculated under a complex formula known as the Minimum Foundation Program, was intended exclusively for public schools. To divert it, he said, violated the state constitution.
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."

Hopefully, the voucher program will remain dead.  Anyone who has followed the Christian Right for any amount of time ought to know that a long sought goal is to have tax payers pay for their children to go to religious schools, many of which teach creationism and other batshitery.  Jindal is doing little more than shamelessly prostituting himself to this malevolent force in the GOP base.

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