Category Archives: Vouchers

“Louisiana voucher students score almost 30 points below average on LEAP tests” (nola.com)

Perhaps Gov. Jindal’s education experiment needs to stop:

As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren’t yet.

Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent.

For accountability purposes, students attending private schools at taxpayer expense take the same standardized tests as their peers in public schools. In 2011, when the voucher program operated only in New Orleans, students averaged 33 percent proficiency.

Now seven schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes have results so low — less than 25 percent of voucher students proficient for three years running — that they have been barred from accepting new voucher students in the fall, as per state policy. In Orleans, the schools are Life of Christ Academy, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, Bishop McManus, Conquering Word Christian Academy Eastbank and Holy Rosary Academy. In Jefferson, they are Faith Christian Academy and Conquering Word Christian Academy.

Read the rest of the article here.

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“School text book: Hippies were rude, didn’t bathe, worshipped Satan” (Salon.com)

It sounds like South Park’s Cartman is writing the 8th Grade textbooks for Louisiana’s taxpayer-funded voucher schools.  Here’s an excerpt from one of the books:

They went to Canada or European countries to escape being drafted into military service.

They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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“Louisiana Voucher School Students Taught Hippies Were Dirty, Rude, Rock-Loving Satan-Worshippers” (Huffington Post)

And that’s probably not the worst things being taught with taxpayer funds in Louisiana voucher-funded schools:

As Mother Jones documented last year, other nuggets of historical “knowledge” have included, “Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time,” “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ,” and “The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”

You can read the rest of this story online here.

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Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program unconstitutional (washingtonpost.com)

One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature accomplishments, a private school tuition voucher program, was ruled unconstitutional by a Louisiana judge Friday, the Associated Press reports:

State Judge Tim Kelley said Friday that the program improperly diverts money allocated through Louisiana’s public school funding formula to private schools. He also said it unconstitutionally diverts local tax dollars to private schools.

Kelley ruled in a lawsuit backed by teacher unions and school boards seeking to shut down the voucher program and other changes that would funnel more money away from traditional public schools.

You can read the rest of this story online here.

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Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating (Salon.com)

The “tl;dr” version is the current-day “education reform” efforts are not true populist grass-roots movements.  The so-called “reform” efforts are the illegitimate love-child of conservative ideology and corporate greed.

The “reform” efforts were defeated in Colorado, Idaho, and Indiana.  Maybe one day the same thing will happen in Louisiana.

You can read the Salon.com coverage here.

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14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools (MotherJones)

You won’t believe the crazy ideas being taught in Louisiana taxpayer-funded voucher schools.

“Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time” … “God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ” … “[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross”

All of this and more will be taught in Louisiana schools using taxpayer dollars:

Thanks to a new law privatizing public education in Louisiana, Bible-based curriculum can now indoctrinate young, pliant minds with the good news of the Lord—all on the state taxpayers’ dime.

Under Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program, considered the most sweeping in the country, Louisiana is poised to spend tens of millions of dollars to help poor and middle-class students from the state’s notoriously terrible public schools receive a private education. While the governor’s plan sounds great in the glittery parlance of the state’s PR machine, the program is rife with accountability problems that actually haven’t been solved by the new standards the Louisiana Department of Education adopted two weeks ago.

For one, of the 119 (mostly Christian) participating schools, Zack Kopplin, a gutsy college sophomore who’s taken to Change.org to stonewall the program, has identified at least 19 that teach or champion creationist nonscience and will rake in nearly $4 million in public funding from the initial round of voucher designations.

Many of these schools, Kopplin notes, rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based “facts,” such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience that researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra have thankfully pored over so the rest of world doesn’t have to.

Gutting the public education system in Louisiana in favor of teaching nonsense will not prepare our citizens for the 21st century.  And we won’t be able to attract the best in business and academia with Gov. Jindal’s so-called “reforms.”

You can read the rest of this story online here.

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“School vouchers are only beginning” (shreveporttimes.com)

More info on Gov. Jindal’s so-called “education reform” measures:

Of Louisiana’s 700,000 public school students back in class, 7,000, 1 percent, are attending private or church schools on state-funded vouchers. The proportion suggests that for all the commotion, from the Legislature to the courts, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s scholarship program will do neither much good nor much harm to the great mass of schoolchildren.

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Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program ( Repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act Blog)

This what Louisiana taxpayers get with no public accountability and a political culture that doesn’t value church-state separation:

Stop Governor Jindal’s Creationist Voucher Program Before Governor Romney Takes it Nationwide

Update: Superintendent White removed Eternity Christian Academy from this list, but the other 19 remain. Eternity was not removed for curriculum issues, so it may be returned to the program while keeping a creationist curriculum.

According to the Associated Press, there are 750 creationist voucher slots which are worth more than 4 million dollars approved for this year.

These numbers will grow as the voucher program continues, and will easily be able to reach the numbers I’ve posted below. The numbers below represent the number of voucher slots originally requested by the creationist schools, and the maximum amount of voucher money that the state allows.

Also note, the numbers below would be the final numbers if not for the public outcry over how backwards this voucher program is. We need to keep pushing on the Governor and the Superintendent to remove the remainder of the creationist schools.

Louisiana is preparing to spend over $11 million to send 1,365 students to 20 private schools that teach creationism instead of science as part of Governor Bobby Jindal’s new voucher program. It is time to halt the implementation of this creationist voucher program.

You can read the rest of this article here.

The “Repealing the Louisiana Science Education Act Blog”  was started by Zack Kopplin.  Zack is a freshman at Rice University and a recent graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School.  Zack grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he is working to make sure that he and other Louisiana kids will be able to get jobs after they graduate.  Since June, 2010, Zack has led the effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, Louisiana’s misnamed and misguided creationism law.  He is organizing Louisiana students and citizens in support of his repeal.

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Louisiana Revelation: School Voucher Funding – It’s Not Just For Christians Any More (Americans United for Separation of Church and State)

An unintended consequence for the voucher law … vouchers supporting religious schools may support religions other than Christianity and why it’s good to have a “wall of separation” between church and state:

A member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who eagerly supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to fund private schools has had an epiphany: Muslim schools might start getting taxpayer money!

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican who represents East Baton Rouge and Livingston, now says she wishes she hadn’t voted for the Jindal voucher bill.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” Hodges told the Livingston Parish News.

“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges added.

The newspaper reported that she “mistakenly assumed that ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian.’” (The article is password protected, but if you want to read the whole thing, you can sign up here for free.)

You can read the rest of this article online here.

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Motion to join suit against La. school changes on Rapides agenda today (Town Talk – Alexandria LA)

Another challenge to Gov. Jindal’s school voucher plans …

The Rapides Parish School Board today will consider whether to join a lawsuit seeking to undo Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program.

The Louisiana School Boards Association and 34 school boards, including Concordia and Evangeline in Central Louisiana, filed suit Thursday.

The Rapides Parish School Board has called a special meeting at 5 p.m. today (July 3) to consider a motion by board member Janet Dixon to “join other school boards in Louisiana in litigation and protest against Act II.”

The voucher program, approved by the Legislature in April, allows children who attend public schools graded C or worse to attend a qualified private school at taxpayer expense. Families must meet income guidelines tied to the federal powerty level, which is about $58,000 a year for a family of four.

Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the program have been filed by the states’ two major teacher unions and by the Louisiana School Boards Association.

Opponents allege that Jindal and lawmakers are improperly paying for the voucher program, home-schooling, online courses, college tuition and independently run charter schools that won’t be affiliated with local school systems. They claim the state Constitution bars the use of the state education funding formula, known as the Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP, for anything besides public school financing.

You can read the rest of the story online here.

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