U.S. Department of Justice drops lawsuit against Louisiana’s voucher program, still wants federal review

mapIn 2008 the state of Louisiana created the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) for students to receive vouchers if their school was failing.  In August 2013, The U.S. Department of Justice sued the state of Louisiana over their Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), due to some of the schools being under desegregation orders, that were receiving students under the LSP.  The LSP lets low-income students in public schools graded C, D or F attend private schools at taxpayer expense. This year, 22 of the 34 systems under desegregation orders are sending some students to private schools on vouchers.  The parishes affected are: Plaquemines, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany.

Louisiana demographics show 32% of the state’s population is black and 90% of them are utilizing vouchers.  Why is this problematic?  The states have signed contracts with private prisons with a guaranteed occupancy of 90%.  Under the lawsuit, the state would be barred from assigning students, in those school parishes, to private schools unless a federal judge agreed to it.

A recent article in the Huffington Post discussed how private prisons have signed contracts with some states that guarantee a 90% occupancy rate to be profitable, and if the quota isn’t reached, the states have to pay for the empty beds.  How do prisons decide how many beds are needed?  Some states use your child’s 3rd grade test scores.

Kathleen Ford, a one-time mayoral candidate in Florida cited the spring 2012 newsletter of the Nevada Department of Corrections.

In California they plan how many jail cells they will build in the future by how many children are not reading on grade level by third grade.

Well how does California do this?  Once upon a time, if you were a welfare recipient, you received an increase for each additional child you had.  Thanks to former President Bill Clinton, The Welfare Family Cap was enacted and put an end to the gravy train.  Many wondered why the government would encourage more children on the welfare rolls.  Perhaps this is why?

Now you have to ask yourself.  What am I doing to prevent my child from becoming a statistic?  In the case of Louisiana, if 90% of the blacks are trying to obtain a better education through the vouchers, how will the prisons maintain their 90% occupancy?

As of now, the U.S. Department of Justice has dropped their lawsuit over the voucher program, but will still be in court, November 22, 2013, since the DOJ is still requesting a federal review process of the program.  Stay tuned.

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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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