WASHINGTON – South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and 29 other U.S. senators have written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wanting to know why he’s seeking to block some students from joining the Louisiana school voucher program.
A press release from Scott notes the program was launched after Hurricane Katrina and last year helped over 5,700 needy children – 91 percent of whom are minorities – while saving taxpayers $18 million.
“Regardless of race or background, every child deserves the opportunity to succeed,” Scott said in the release. “I know firsthand the importance of empowering parents to provide their children with the best education possible. Parents should be able to choose a school based on the opportunity it provides. That flexibility is good for kids across the board.”
Holder’s lawsuit, filed in August, seeks to block some students from using the program, claiming it will lead to “less diverse” public schools in violation of federal desegregation orders.
The lawsuit puts a bigger emphasis on the threat of “reversing desegregation” than allowing students to voluntarily attend the school of their choice, regardless of racial makeup.
Eric Lewis, state director for Louisiana’s Black Alliance for Educational Options, called the lawsuit “preposterous.”
“(The voucher law) gave parents the ability to actually choose where they want to send their kids,” Lewis toldFox8Live.com in August. “And so this motion by the Department of Justice we think is wrong-sided and (we) would implore them to reconsider taking this action.”
The senators seem to concur.
“The program has been a remarkable success. Test scores have risen among scholarship students. More importantly, the program is lauded by those in the best position to determine what is best for Louisiana’s children: their parents,” their letter reads in part.
“It seems to us that a program that rescues needy children from failing schools, gives families a chance to break the cycle of poverty and violence, and saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year is one that should be lauded by the federal government. Instead, the Justice Department is working to sabotage it. Shockingly, the Justice Department is doing so by targeting a small group of children based solely on the color of their skin,” the letter reads.
By Kyle Olson at EAGnews.org