By Victor Skinner
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Supreme Court refused to stop a new state voucher program designed to give thousands of students stuck in failing schools hope for a better future.
Louisiana’s high court Wednesday denied a request by the state’s teachers unions and public school boards to stop a new voucher program that will allow students to transfer from failing public schools to private and charter schools, thenewsstar.com reports.
The ruling affirms a lower court’s refusal to grant an injunction, and is a promising sign for school choice proponents as the state and its education establishment prepare for a hearing on the constitutionality of the voucher program set for October.
The decision means voucher students who would have attended public schools rated a C, D, or F by the Louisiana’s school accountability system will begin attending classes at better schools this month.
“The school year is already under way. It’s time to stop trying to prevent parents from making the choices they feel are right and start believing in the people closest to the students,” state Superintendent John White said in a statement, according to thenewsstar.com.
A key reasoning for the court’s refusal to grant an injunction is centered on finances.
“Justices upheld lower court rulings that determined a judge can’t issue an injunction stalling the voucher program because of a 1969 law that bars injunctions if a state agency chief says that it would cause a deficit in the department,” thenewsstar.com reports.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administrative leaders, including White, “have said in affidavits that the Department of Education would face a deficit if the laws creating and funding the voucher program were blocked.”
Regardless of the reasoning, it’s clear that many students from across the state will benefit greatly by receiving much better academic instruction as part of the program. Parents of children in the Louisiana’s worst schools finally have options, and thousands are already taking advantage of their new freedom.
The teachers union and public school leaders who represent the state’s education establishment are still plowing ahead, however, and will do whatever they can to turn back progress and re-establish their ineffective, monopolistic public education system.
But that will be much harder as parents and taxpayers begin to reap the rewards of school choice, which will undoubtedly produce a more competitive environment to encourage all schools to improve.