Friday, July 27, 2012

Louisiana's Real Bullying Problem

Celebrities from Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift to Justin Timberlake have spoken out against bullying in schools. But what if the schools themselves—not to mention low-income families trying to provide a better education for their children—were actually the ones being bullied?

That just may be the case in Louisiana

Despite a state appeals court ruling 2-1 to uphold the decision by the lower court to let the voucher program continue, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) apparently wasn’t satisfied.

So they threatened to sue.  Since they are already suing the state for passing a sweeping statewide expansion of the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program—which allows children from low-income families attending failing schools to access an education at the school of their parents’ choice—the LAE is threatening to sue schools for accepting the scholarship money that helps children access a high-quality education.

Why threaten participating schools?

According to LAE attorney Brian Blackwell:
"The real concern is with the schools that paltry financial resources and then who receive the money and then spend it will not have the ability to repay it if the program ultimately is declared unconstitutional."
So it’s not about children; it’s about money.

And LAE President Joyce Haynes reiterated the importance of stopping funding  from following the child, when she said “we deserve that money so we can have better public schools.”

Here’s what some of the folks standing on the side of education reform are saying:

"While we are happy for Louisiana's children that the ruling allows them to attend the school their parents think best, we find the kind of scare tactics used by the plaintiff to be shameful."
Superintendent of the Department of Education John White

 “This is a cheap scare tactic by the teachers union.  It’s a schoolyard bully tactic.
Josh LeSage, administrator of Hosanna Christian Academy in Baton Rouge

“[Teachers union leaders] are stooping to new lows and trying to strong-arm schools to keep our kids from getting a quality education.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

“It’s despicable that adults would use the threat of legal action to stop schools from accepting students who desperately want a better education, thereby squashing their dreams and those of their parents. Even by standards of the typical special interest bullying tactics, this is an unbelievably demeaning and insulting action that aims ultimately to hurt the futures of thousands of children.”
American Federation for Children Senior Advisor Kevin P. Chavous

It’s time for a national campaign to stop bullying in education funding.  The only guarantee should be educating all of our children, not who gets what money. 

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

No comments:

Post a Comment