Fifty years ago, Governor George Wallace (D-Alabama) stood in front of school house doors to prevent black students from entering the school. Fifty years later, Eric Holder, a fellow Democrat, is doing the same thing to Louisiana students.
Louisiana has a school choice program in place to help low-income students access better schools than the public schools they are too often trapped in for their educational career. Since every one already pays for public schools through their property taxes (or through their rent), the theory goes that parents should be able to access those funds to pay for any education. Parents should be able to use the money they already pay for school to enroll their children in Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim or private, secular schools. They could also use the money to pay for books to homeschool their children or to purchase online education programs.
The Lousiana program allows children from low-income families that are stuck in under-performing public schools to leave their schools and seek education in private schools. The program allows families to access the money they already spend for public schools to use for private schools, along the lines of receiving a tax credit for education.
Unfortunately for these kids, Eric Holder’s DOJ is suing to stop the program, saying that it violates desegregation orders. Let me put this in perspective: Eric Holder refuses to prosecute Black Panthers for voter intimidation but WILL go after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for trying to help poor kids get a better education and stimulate competition in Louisiana schools.
The school choice program in Louisiana is a pilot program at the moment, but is part of a larger education movement in Louisiana. For example, Louisiana currently has 104 charter schools and by the year 2014 will have over 120 charter schools. Free of school district control, charter schools have the freedom to experiment with teaching methods and educate children in new ways. Louisiana also works to make home schooling easier for its residents, allowing parents to be even more invested in what their child learns.
Liberals like Eric Holder aren’t really going after Jindal because of some desegregation order. The real reason is that home schooling, charter schools, and private schools are all a threat to the Democrat’s big allies, teacher unions. Instead of allowing parents from New Orleans to help give their kids a chance in a private school, Holder puts his ideology and the money of the Democrat party ahead of poor kids. I can’t blame him for looking out for the party, but that doesn’t change the effect of what he is doing.
In a speech at Right Online, a conference sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, Jindal attacked Holder:
“What’s so atrocious is that Eric Holder, the Obama Department of Justice, [is] using the same rules intended to protect low-income children, intended to allow them to go to better schools, now wants to use those same rules to force these kids to go back to failing schools, because they are so beholden to the government unions,” he said during his speech. “Can you believe that? We’ve got a message to Eric Holder, we’ve got a message to President Obama: The American dream is alive and well in Louisiana. We’re gonna fight for those children.”
Just a few weeks ago, thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Martin Luther King, Junior’s “I have a dream” speech. Speakers talked about whether or not minorities had more access to the dream than they did 50 years ago. Were the opportunities for class mobility more or less prevalent many asked? How sad that the black Attorney General picked by the first black President spends his time trying to stop poor kids and minority kids from going to a good school simply over ideology.
In filing his lawsuit, Holder leans more toward the side of George Wallace than toward King.
Matthew Lamb | Loyola University-Chicago | @mlmb24