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Oct 23, 2013
Gov. Jindal: U.S. Department of Justice Trying to Muzzle Parents

BATON ROUGE – The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief yesterday claiming that parents do not have a “right” to intervene in in the Obama Administration’s lawsuit against Louisiana’s school choice program. The Department of Justice also claims that the interest of parents in moving their children out of failing schools is “too remote to warrant intervention at this time,” and the Department says parents have a “misunderstanding” of the case. Governor Jindal called the brief offensive to parents and said the Obama Administration is trying to muzzle parents who want to give their children the opportunity to escape failing schools. 
 
Governor Jindal said, “The Obama Administration wants to deny a voice to the very people who will be harmed by this ridiculous lawsuit. In an offensively worded motion, the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to muzzle parents who simply want to express an opinion about why their children should have the opportunity to escape failing schools. 
 
“The Obama Administration outrageously argues that parents do not have a ‘right’ to express their opinion and says parents have a “misunderstanding” about the federal government’s goal in this lawsuit. In other words, the Obama Administration is telling parents that the federal government knows what’s best for their children. This move is akin to when a Louisiana union official said poor parents have ‘no clue’ when it comes to choosing a school for their children. The Obama Administration believes in this same backwards ideology.
 
“It gets worse, the Obama Administration claims that interests of parents who are seeking scholarships for their children are ‘too remote to warrant intervention at this time.’ To claim that the interest of parents regarding such a vital education issue are ‘too remote’ for engagement is ridiculous. Our kids only have one chance to grow up and parents should not be denied an opportunity to speak up about what’s best for their children.
 
“The Obama Administration is attempting to tell parents to sit down and shut up. It’s never going to happen. Despite whatever evolving legal argument the Obama Administration comes up with, the voices of thousands of parents will not be silenced.”
 
Governor Jindal also noted that the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to deceive the public about the federal government’s goal in the lawsuit.
 
In its motion filed with the court in August, the U.S. Department of Justice wrote, “the United States asks this Court to issue a permanent injunction ordering that, beginning in the 2014-15 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.”
 
Stung by the nearly universal condemnation of this effort to deprive children of the opportunity to escape failing schools, the U.S. Department of Justice now writes, in the filing to prevent parents from intervening, that “The United States is not seeking to end the Program or to take vouchers away from particular students.” 
 
However, the U.S. Department of Justice has never withdrawn the request it made in the original motion to seek a permanent injunction of the program.
 
Governor Jindal said, “I have already indicated that the Obama Administration’s effort to deny these kids the right to equal opportunity in education is both cynical and immoral.  Well, it turns out it is also completely deceptive. The U.S. Department of Justice can’t have it both ways. Parents know the real result of this lawsuit, were it to be successful, would be to keep children from escaping failing schools.”
 


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