The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Louisiana in New Orleans federal court over its private school voucher program, called the Louisiana Scholarship Program. The suit targets public school districts that are currently under federal desegregation orders, claiming that the voucher program is impeding the desegregation process. In the school districts affected by the lawsuit, they could only assign students to private schools if a federal judge agrees to it.
Yesterday, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 to lift the injunction that halted the Douglas County Schools Choice Scholarship program. This is a huge victory for parents and students. Launched in 2011, the pilot program allows parents to take a portion of per-pupil revenue and use it toward the private school of their choice. 500 families were selected through a lottery to participate and awarded about $4,500 per child, totaling $300,000 in public funds.
On Friday, the 19th Judicial District Court ruled the funding mechanism of Louisiana’s school choice voucher program unconstitutional, placing the academic future of nearly 5,000 students in jeopardy. Louisiana’s voucher program was launched during the 2008-09 school year and allows students from low-income families in under-performing schools to enroll in private schools of their choice.
Many rightfully argue that education reform should be a bi-partisan effort, and on some issues Democrats and Republicans agree. Members of both parties support charter schools, merit pay, and teacher evaluations linked in some way to student performance. However, when it comes to vouchers, the parties have two very different opinions; many Republicans support vouchers, while most Democrats do not – but not all.
I graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in History (minor in Political Science) and the University of Wyoming with a Master of Public Administration. I am an experienced copywriter and content manager. I am also a former intern/research associate for the Education Policy Center at the Independence Institute in Denver, Colorado and have previously blogged for National School Choice Week.