LA school voucher debate heads to federal court

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Governor Bobby Jindal is getting help from a group of parents in his quest to make school vouchers available to all students in Louisiana.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the Governor’s program, citing fears that vouchers will shut down desegregation in parishes that are under desegregation orders including St. John the Baptist, Lafourche, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes in southeast Louisiana.

The vouchers would allow students to go to any school, public or private.

Tuesday, an organization called the Black Alliance for Educational Options threw their support behind Jindal’s voucher system. They believe it will do nothing but help minority students get better educations, pointing out that the voucher program has already been operating successfully in Orleans Parish for four years now.

“The program has been here in the New Orleans area since 2008,” says spokesman Eric Lewis. “91% of the kids are black kids and so 92% of the parents have been satisfied or highly satisfied with the program. So this is just something that, again, in the way of these parents being able to provide their kids with a high-quality education.”

What happens next? Both sides in the voucher debate must have their written responses submitted to a Federal judge by mid-November.