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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APPEAL OF LOUISIANA VOUCHER CASE HAS NATIONAL SCHOOL CHOICE RAMIFICATIONS

October 6, 2014

(8/27/2014) The families are represented by the Goldwater Institute, whose Vice President for Litigation, Clint Bolick, characterized the appeal as a “test case of whether desegregation decrees that were intended to secure educational opportunities for minority schoolchildren can be manipulated to thwart those opportunities.”

The Justice Department takes the position that such decrees are violated if school vouchers impact racial balance in the public schools—even if the beneficiaries are minority children trapped in poor performing public schools. Since hundreds of school districts around the country are under ongoing desegregation decrees, the DOJ’s actions have national implications.

Roughly 6,750 children are participating in the Louisiana school voucher program, which allows low-income students attending poor-performing public schools graded “C,” “D,” or “F” by the State to instead use their state funding to attend private schools, which must admit children on a random selection basis. Roughly 90 percent of the children in the program are black.

After initially working to terminate the scholarships, the Justice Department withdrew that demand and instead asked to run a cumbersome process that would allow them to challenge individual student applications. Earlier this year, Judge Ivan Lemelle ordered the State to produce information about voucher applicants and schools for the Justice Department.

Judge Lemelle had also barred the parents from participating in the case, but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals. Now his refusal to end the DOJ’s assault on educational opportunities in Louisiana is being appealed in the papers filed today.

“So long as the federal court has jurisdiction over this program, a dark cloud will hover over all school choice programs and the precious educational opportunities they provide,” declared Bolick. “We intend to remove that cloud.”

 

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To schedule an interview with Clint Bolick, please contact Michael Kelley at (602) 633-8965 or mkelley@goldwaterinstitute.org. The Goldwater Institute has an in-house VideoLink studio for rapid cable hook-up if needed.

 

 

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