You might remember that after Hurricane Katrina, forces on the Right closed down many public schools in New Orleans and rammed a voucher system into place to replace the old system.
Louisiana officials insist that the voucher program is delivering a better education to Louisiana students. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says that reform has been made possible by sapping the power of the teachers’ unions, because you know how teachers just hate education.
However, as Freddie deBoer points out,
As several commenters on the post discuss, a population decrease of somewhere between a quarter to a third of a cityâ€™s residents would make apples to apples comparisons a bit difficult, wouldnâ€™t you say? Especially when the three demographic features most consistently correlated with educational outcomesâ€”economic class, race, and parentsâ€™ education levelâ€”each had a significant post-Katrina swing towards the groups most likely to score highly. Might be worth mentioning!
If only we had some sort of systematized guidelines for how to accurately evaluate sociological dataâ€¦.
In May some reporters visited a private school in the voucher program. Turned out the school had no library, and the curriculum appeared to consist of showing the kids Christian DVDs. The school also intended to charge voucher students higher tuition than non-voucher students.
In other words, the school didn’t come close to meeting the requirements for teaching the 315 voucher students the state said it could accept. Asked about the lax oversight, the state education department said it would let parents decide if their children were being educated or not.
Now other reporters have turned up emails between State Superintendent of Schools John White and officials in Gov. Jindal’s administration about how this little mess might be spun away. The idea was to “muddy up” the newspaper narrative somehow.
The bottom line is that this voucher nonsense was imposed on poor Louisiana by players in the private education industry — who are profiting, no doubt — plus Christian conservatives. Providing better education has nothing to do with this. See also “Jindalâ€™s Louisiana Vouchers Face Growing Legal Backlash.”
Related — last week Gov. Jindal signed a budget that eliminates all state funding for public libraries.