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Aug 24, 2013
Gov. Jindal: U.S. Dept. of Justice Attempting to Deny Equal Opportunity in Education & Take Away Parent Choice

BATON ROUGE – Governor Bobby Jindal issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court threatening the ability of Louisiana parents to send their children to the school of their choice:

Governor Jindal said, “This is shameful. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools against the wishes of their parents. It’s the latest example of government trying to tell parents that they know best. This action highlights the fundamental disregard of the federal government for the rights of parents to make choices for their children.

“The Obama Administration thinks parents should have to seek their approval any time parents want to send their child to a school of their choice.  After generations of being denied a choice, parents finally can choose a school for their child, but now the federal government is stepping in to prevent parents from exercising this right. Shame on them. Parents should have the ability to decide where to send their child to school.

“Giving every single child – no matter their race or their income – the opportunity to get a great education is a moral imperative.  We will not sit by while folks in Washington, D.C. try to tell Louisiana parents that they are not able to attend the school of their choice. Make no mistake – this motion is a threat to the children in our state who only get one chance to grow up and deserve the opportunity to get the best education so they can pursue their dreams.”

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion seeking a permanent injunction ordering that, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, the State may not award school vouchers to students who attend schools located in school districts operating under federal desegregation orders unless and until the state receives authorization from the appropriate federal court overseeing the desegregation case.

In 2008, Governor Jindal and the Legislature approved a scholarship program for low-income students in New Orleans who were attending failing schools. The program was expanded statewide after legislation was proposed and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.

From 2012 to 2013, the program saw an increase in the number of applicants, growing from approximately 10,000 to approximately 12,000. Roughly 8,000 students will participate as of fall 2013. In 2013, more than 93 percent of parents of students participating in the Scholarship Program reported satisfaction with their children’s school. Nearly 90 percent of students in the program are minorities.

From 2011 to 2013, students formerly in failing schools now attending scholarship schools improved on literacy and math tests, increasing by seven percent the number of students performing at grade level, even though in 2013, 60 percent of students taking the test had only been in their new schools for 8 months.

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