Louisiana School Voucher Program Ruled Unconstitutional in State Court

Louisiana SealBobbyJindal1Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

In August, I wrote a post about Louisiana’s new school voucher program (Stateside Louisiana: School Vouchers and the Privatization of Public Education) that would use tax dollars earmarked for public education to pay for students’ tuitions to private and religious schools. Last week, State District Judge Tim Kelley “declared the diversion of funds from the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) — the formula under which per pupil public education funds are calculated — to private entities was unconstitutional.” The voucher program is funded by a block-grant program that “Judge Kelley ruled is restricted by the constitution to funding only public schools.”

“Nowhere was it mandated that funds from [the block-grant program]…be provided for an alternative education beyond what the Louisiana education system was set up for,” he [Judge Kelley] wrote. The state can legally fund vouchers, but the funding “must come from some other portion of the general budget,” Judge Kelley said.

The judge, however, did not issue an immediate injunction to stop the voucher program. “The 5,000 students currently receiving vouchers will be able to continue attending their private schools pending an appeal, state officials said.”

Governor Bobby Jindal, a champion of the voucher program, called the ruling “wrong-headed” and “a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education.” He promised to appeal the judge’s ruling. John White, the state superintendent of education, said, “We are optimistic this decision will be reversed.”

According to reports, Judge Kelley’s ruling is not the only challenge Louisiana’s new school voucher program faces. Last week, a federal judge in New Orleans “ruled that the program had the potential to disrupt the region’s court-ordered efforts to desegregate public schools. The federal judge issued a temporary injunction halting the use of vouchers in Tangipahoa Parish over concern that the program was siphoning off state dollars needed to implement the desegregation plan.” There are at least thirty more school districts in the state that are also under desegregation orders. Voucher opponents said they plan to “bring similar federal court cases in those districts.”

The Times-Picayune reported that the voucher “suit was brought by Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT), Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), Louisiana School Boards Association and 43 local school boards.” In addition to the teachers’ unions and school boards, others have also criticized the program because some of the private and religious schools that receive voucher money “focus on so-called Young Earth Creationism over evolution.”

(Note: The Unites States Supreme Court has “affirmed the right of religious institutions to receive taxpayer funds through vouchers, as long as the state itself isn’t advocating a particular faith.”)

Another criticism of the program is that voucher students who attend many of the private and religious schools will not be subjected to the same standardized testing that students in Louisiana’s public schools are.

From my earlier post on the Louisiana school voucher program:

Casey Michel (TPMMuckraker) reported in July that students in every public school in Louisiana are subjected to standardized testing, but “voucher students — who will bring an average of $8,000 in tuition from ‘failing’ public schools to many that are affiliated with religious denominations — will only need to face testing if their new school has taken an average of 10 students per grade, or if the schools have accepted at least 40 voucher students into the grades testing.”

According to Simon[Stephanie Simon, Reuters], there are private schools in Louisiana that have been approved to receive state funds that “use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.” Many of the schools “rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based ‘facts,’ such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience…”

Note: The Louisiana school voucher program not only siphons money away from the state’s public schools to private and religious schools—but also to private businesses and private tutors.

Creationist Textbooks: Darwin Is Wrong Because Loch Ness Monster Is Real

Louisiana Voucher Program Funds Horrible Private Religious Schools With Tax Payer Money

SOURCES

Jindal voucher overhaul unconstitutionally diverts public funds to private schools, judge rules (Times-Picayune)

Louisiana Voucher Program Ruled Unconstitutional (Huffington Post)

Blow Dealt to School Voucher Program (Wall Street Journal)

Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program ruled unconstitutional (Washington Post)

Judge blocks Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature school voucher program (Christian Science Monitor)

Stateside Louisiana: School Vouchers and the Privatization of Public Education (Jonathan Turley)

86 thoughts on “Louisiana School Voucher Program Ruled Unconstitutional in State Court

  1. Elaine,

    Very important piece. Let me be categorical in my opposition to the idea of “Voucher Programs”, Charter Schools, etc. They are all a ruse under the guise of improving educational opportunities. Religious based schools from both Christian and Jewish faiths have been pushing for many years to receive funds from government to support themselves. Then too, one of the immediate reactions in the South and North, to the SCOTUS desegregation ruling was to set up “private schools” to siphon State education funds. The Charter Schools are the result of Corporations trying to get their share of the pie of public education funds. The whole project including “No Child Left Behind” are “Trojan horses” used to deprive public education in this country.

  2. Don’t get excited. First, what does he mean another part of the budget? What he means is that public fund CAN be used to fund religious education as long as they are state funds. That is nuts as I understand the Constitution but the Hosanna Court might not see it my way. Wait until a bunch of state vouchers are used at a muslin schools we will see where the Constituion crumbles then!

  3. Justice Holmes,

    Valarie Hodges, Louisiana Lawmaker, Retracts Support For Voucher Program Because Of Muslim School Inclusion
    The Huffington Post
    By Laura Hibbard
    Posted: 07/06/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/valarie-hodges-lawmaker-retracts-support-for-bill_n_1655249.html

    Excerpt:
    Louisiana Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, is retracting her support for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program, after realizing the money could be applied to Muslim schools, Livingston Parish News reports.

    Hodges initially supported the governor’s program because she mistakenly equated “religious” with “Christian,” according to the report. Jindal’s reform package allows state education funds to be used to send students to religious schools.

    “Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion… We need to insure [sic] that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana,” Hodges was quoted as saying in the Livingston Parish News.

    Hodges’ outrage comes after Louisiana lawmakers carried out a similar debate when the vouchers were being discussed last month.

  4. Mike S.,

    I agree with your comment. It’s about the privatization of public services and programs. Bush didn’t get a lot of public support when he tried to privatize Social Security.

  5. I pay school taxes. I want ALL of my school tax money supporting the local public school. If you want your kids going to a private school, you come up with the money.

    Charter schools and vouchers are all about privatizing education where the only thing that counts is the $$ bottom line. Kids of the elites will get the smaller classes and the greater teacher to student ratio and the well equipped labs and tech centers. The poor kids will get prepared for menial low paying jobs, the military, and jail.

  6. So much trouble with these schools in Az. Many have closed with great scandals, funds stolen, kids neglected. I am sure there may be some good charter schools, but the resulting degradation of public schools is not worth it. If parents do not like public schools they can pay out of pocket for something they consider to be ‘better’.

    I am with bettykath here, I want my tax dollars to fund local schools, not some religious curriculum that should only be taught in Sunday school at church!

  7. I sent my daughter to catholic school for the religious aspect. Taxes should never be spent on a private education. Signed, someone who scrimped and saved for what I wanted.

  8. There was never a problem until the public schools started putting out a second rate product. Most parents want their children to receive a good education. The teacher unions have put a stop to any chance of that.

  9. Bruce,

    The Louisiana voucher program would siphon money away from public schools to private and religious schools–most of which wouldn’t be held accountable in the same way that the public schools are. Why should tax payers’ money go to schools that teach creationism instead of real science? How do you suppose those private and religious schools would improve education in the state of Louisiana?

  10. Damn unions. They did it again. the 8 hour work day, 40 hour work week. child labor laws, workers’ comp, sick pay, maternity leave, safety programs, company paid health insurance, paid vacations, and now, dumbing down education. [sarcasm]

    Hope they make a huge comeback.

  11. Most will not think this is a factor in the abysmal education levels – but my opinion is that GMO foods have harmed all children. HFCS from GMO corn is a daily staple in the vast majority of all kids diets now.

    Say what you will, but the ‘junk’ food we ate growing up in the 1940’s to the mid 1980’s did not contain these genetically modified substances. We see huge increases in all sorts of physical problems that affect learning in kids today. Problems with their endocrine systems, with physical development.

    The military cannot even enlist most of these young people- their bodies are so damaged. I believe this affects the brain in all sorts of ways as well.

  12. http://truth-out.org/news/item/12993-corrections-corporation-of-america-used-in-drug-sweeps-of-public-school-students

    excerpt:
    Corrections Corporation of America Used in Drug Sweeps of Public School Students
    Tuesday, 27 November 2012 13:35 By Beau Hodai, PRWatch | Report

    In Arizona an unsettling trend appears to be underway: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations.

    The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry. Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.

    And now, recent events in the central Arizona town of Casa Grande show the hand of private corrections corporations reaching into the classroom, assisting local law enforcement agencies in drug raids at public schools.



    Trick or Treat

    At 9 a.m. on the morning of October 31, 2012, students at Vista Grande High School in Casa Grande were settling in to their daily routine when something unusual occurred.

    Vista Grande High School Principal Tim Hamilton ordered the school — with a student population of 1,776 — on “lock down,” kicking off the first “drug sweep” in the school’s four-year history. According to Hamilton, “lock down” is a state in which, “everybody is locked in the room they are in, and nobody leaves — nobody leaves the school, nobody comes into the school.”

    
”Everybody is locked in, and then they bring the dogs in, and they are teamed with an administrator and go in and out of classrooms. They go to a classroom and they have the kids come out and line up against a wall. The dog goes in and they close the door behind, and then the dog does its thing, and if it gets a hit, it sits on a bag and won’t move.”

    While such “drug sweeps” have become a routine matter in many of the nation’s schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, one feature of this raid was unusual. According to Casa Grande Police Department (CGPD) Public Information Officer Thomas Anderson, four “law enforcement agencies” took part in the operation: CGPD (which served as the lead agency and operation coordinator), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gila River Indian Community Police Department, and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

    It is the involvement of CCA — the nation’s largest private, for-profit prison corporation — that causes this high school “drug sweep” to stand out as unusual; CCA is not, despite CGPD’s evident opinion to the contrary, a law enforcement agency.

  13. Here’s another school to juvie pipeline

    http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/340-187/14760-in-mississippi-kids-go-to-jail-for-being-late

    excerpt:
    In Mississippi Kids Go To Jail For Being Late?

    By Julianne Hing, Color Lines

    28 November 12

    Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.

    But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.

    In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.

    Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations.

    “[D]efendants engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct through which they routinely and systematically arrest and incarcerate children, including for minor school rule infractions, without even the most basic procedural safeguards, and in violation of these children’s constitutional rights,” the DOJ’s 37-page complaint reads. Meridian’s years of systemic abuse punish youth “so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience,” the complaint reads.

    The federal lawsuit casts a wide net in indicting the systems that worked to deny Meridian children their constitutional rights. It names as defendants the state of Mississippi; the city of Meridian; Lauderdale County, which runs the Lauderdale County Youth Court; and the local Defendant Youth Court Judges Frank Coleman and Veldore Young for violating Meridian students’ rights up and down the chain.

    The DOJ’s complaint also charges that in the course of its eight-month investigation the city blocked the inquiry by refusing to hand over youth court records. Attorneys for city officials deny that claim, and say they are bound by law to protect the confidentiality of youth who’ve been through the system and so cannot share their records with the federal government.

    ‘Judge, Jury and Executioner’

    The DOJ’s lawsuit, despite its bombshell revelations for the rest of the country, has been a long time coming. Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP have been concerned about Meridian for years.

    The SPLC’s inquiry into Meridian began in 2008, when attorneys started hearing reports of “horrific abuse” of youth housed in juvenile detention centers, said Jody Owens, managing attorney of the SPLC’s juvenile justice initiative in Mississippi. Advocates learned that 67 percent of youth in detention centers arrived there from the Meridian school system, Owens said. In between school and detention, students were denied access to counsel and due process, and many were never made aware of what they were even being arrested for. “The administrators were the judge, jury and executioner,” Owens said.

    This practice has also appeared to target black students. Meridian, a city of 40,000 people, is 61 percent African-American. But over a five-year period, Owens said, “There was never once a white kid that was expelled or suspended for the same offense that kids of color were suspended for.”

    Among the infractions that landed Green, who is black, in juvenile detention were talking back to a teacher, wearing long socks and coming to school without wearing a belt. He was behind bars for stretches of time as long as two weeks, and the real rub, his mother Gloria said, is that weekends didn’t count as days served. A 10-day suspension stretched to 14 actual days; time for Meridian juvenile justice officials apparently stopped on weekends. All that back and forth out of school and in juvenile took a real toll on Green’s education, and he was held back from the eighth grade.

  14. While my previous two postings are not about vouchers, they are about the school systems in Arizona and Mississippi. It’s a more blatant assault on the education of school children who are being taught first hand about the police state and how they are to behave in it.

  15. Taxpayers money have gone to religious schools for over a gereration. Pell grants, VA, etc. have ALWAYS allowed a student to be in charge of their education and as we all know, their is no freedom w/o choice. This “taxpayer money” has NEVER been issue until it started making K-12 schools accountable for their horrible record. I know the response. Elaine, we’ve had this dance before. We just fundamentally disagree on this topic. C’est la vie.

  16. shano, your comments about gmo foods is right on. Eugenics is not dead. It is doing quite well and Monsanto racks up the profits. This will continue as Obama picked a Monsanto VP and lobbyist, Michael Taylor, as a senior adviser to the FDA. As the Czar of food safety division, Taylor is in charge of all food and farms in the US.

  17. Notice bettykath, both these states are ‘Red’ states, pushing massive authoritarianism on school children. Training them to obey OR ELSE.

    ‘Conservatives’ talk on and on about ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ while they impose draconian restrictions on the powerless. Even the youngest children. It is horrific.

  18. Religious schools already get the benefit of their money coming from tax-free donations to the extent their respective religious authorities support them. They should get not a single other tax benefit; they should get no tax dollars at all. People should not be paying their taxes to support schools that are teaching religion or failing to teach the secular subjects that this country has determined, by elected officials, by policy, and by constitutional process, to be required of its educational system.

  19. Elaine,

    Wonderful piece… As you’re aware I worked for NEA…. It has been an attack for years…. I agree with the US District Courts ruling more so than the State Court…. It needs to be permanently enjoined…. Thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful piece….

  20. nick,

    I don’t think you can compare government grants provided to college students to vouchers that pay student tuition to private and religious elementary, middle, and high schools when children are required by law to attend school until a certain age.

    Why siphon away money earmarked for public education to private and religious schools that may be far worse than the public schools?

  21. Written before reading contents:

    “Note: The Unites States Supreme Court has “affirmed the right of religious institutions to receive taxpayer funds through vouchers, as long as the state itself isn’t advocating a particular faith.”)”
    ——————
    Take it for what it is worth, but doesn’t the constitution say “…. Congress shall make no law…….as to religion…..”.

    Religion is restricted however in the activities that it may do, but not in dogma or worship, etc. That the religion shall be allowed to perform alternatives to public services funded by taxes is not forbidden.

    That the Sct says they should be allowed to use taxes is of course ridiculous.

    Why? Because it supports that religion, by supporting the ideas promoted for religious reasons. Therefore, this a in clear violation of the separation of state and rellgion.

    Who and when was this decision made?

  22. BK,

    Say it isn’t so.

    “This will continue as Obama picked a Monsanto VP and lobbyist, Michael Taylor, as a senior adviser to the FDA. As the Czar of food safety division, Taylor is in charge of all food and farms in the US.”

    Why doesn’t Obama just sell it to Monsanto? When dear lord did he do this?

    I was preaching here a year ago about a group within the FDA who is responsible for keeping an eye out for microorganisms who damage food production.
    They found a new one which study showed caused a nationwide strong increase in miscarriages (50 % total) in first time pregnant heifers.
    This was traced to GMO alfalfa. The study was confirmed in several other countries.
    They asked for more time to study to define what other effects that the active substance in Roundup caused. The answer from the Secretary of Agriculture. NO, repeat NO.
    Did anybody here react. NO, repeat NO. And now you have Monsanto safeguarding our food producition chain. ROTFLOL.

    Do you realize what this means for us? Total regulation requiring GMO origin for all foodstuffs sold in the USA. Ten years and we are there.
    A nightmare only? Dream on.

    Using our government barriers, this will force other countries who wish to sell to our market to conform.

    What did Dredd say? 128 corporate groups rule the world. More and more for each day.

    Shano, I don’t have the figures but allergies are on the increase. Is nature or the environment change the cause? Is it our foodstuffs? Is it our genes?

  23. What Elaine said. There is no comparison between the public funding compulsory private lower education and funding discretionary private higher education. The violation of the Lemon test and the Establishment Clause for religious elementary and secondary schooling is practically a given by the very nature of private religious schooling.

  24. Elaine,

    Apologies for going OT. Guess BKs Obama FDA czar comment got me going on the similarity between religious and corporate control of our nation, ;-)

    All control of thought is dangerous IMHO. Just as speech suppression also is.

    Although al Cajun terrorists who explode chicken gumbo stew sounds nice.

  25. So, if primary education was not mandated by law then everyone here would be ok w/ vouchers ala Pell Grants, VA, used in higher education?

  26. You miss the objection, nick. I’m okay (and I’m pretty sure Elaine is too) with Pell Grants, etc., in higher education whether the school is religious or secular already because it is discretionary. The government does not compel anyone to go to college. The problem is that an analogous transaction in compulsory education for private schools violates the Lemon test when applied to religious schools. The Lemon test is the judicial test for determining whether or not governmental action is a violation of the Establishment Clause. It has three prongs:

    1. The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose;
    2. The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
    3. The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion.

    Using taxpayer money to pay for compulsory schooling arguably doesn’t violate the the first prong if it is a secular private school. However, paying for religious schooling does violate both the second and third prongs. Failing any one element of the test constitutes an Establish Clause violation.

  27. nick,

    No. There is an adequate number of public schools to educate our children in elementary, middle, and high schools. There are not, however, enough public colleges and universities to enroll all those who choose to continue their education.

  28. It’s a hypothetical, but you did not answer my question. Many countries do not have compulsory education. Some states mandate up to age 16, 17, 18. I currently live in a 18 state but have also lived in 16 and 17 states. But let’s say there was NO compulsory primary education. Would vouchers then be ok w/ you folks as it is w/ higher education? I’m not busting balls here, I’m simply trying to understand.

  29. nick,

    If there was no compulsory lower education, such programs wouldn’t be a violation of the Establishment Clause. That should have been apparent in the previous answer when compulsion was mentioned.

  30. I got GI bill money to study computer science, later as a post-grad.
    Would it have been refused if my choice had been to study at Notre Dame to become a minister? I believe not.

  31. Ay, I love your sense of humor! Too many folks look upon these discussions as life and death. You seem to have the insight that this is not life and death, love and war. It’s just a blog w/ an exchange of opinions, nothing more.

  32. Nick,

    Not all do…. I’ve pretty much have learned to say Fcuk it…… There are some on here that try and control every aspect…. That’s their problem…. Not mine….they have the issues….REBT has been a wonderful tool…..

  33. OK, Shano, OK, I read that damn thing and what was the most unbelievable part of it was that there were commenters who condoned it! There isn’t enough wrong with it — I mean — take it from any position.

    If it’s OK to be gay then it’s not OK to encourage kids to mock and humiliate people for being perceived as gay.

    If it is NOT OK to be gay then it’s not OK to force kids who do not identify themselves as gay rights activists to be identified as openly gay so they can be humiliated and scorned.

    If it is heterosexual-like to fight then it is not OK to punish fighting by identifying fighters as gay.

    If it is gay-like to fight then you make fighting worse by having students involuntarily identify themselves as …

    NEVERMIND this does not need to be analyzed. These thugs who did this “discipline” need to be immediately thrown the hell out of the system. OMG!

    NEVERMIND this is beyond unacceptable, beyond intolerable. Tim Richard and Helen Hollands need to be fired and probably sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress. NOT ONLY of these two young men but also of each and every student who was part of the gang who were misused to humiliate the two targeted students. my god, isn’t that obvious?

    Perhaps those two should be prosecuted for child endangerment.

    OMG look who we have been allowing to exercise authority over our children, OMG OMG OMG!

  34. Ay, Wow!! I’m a big fan of REBT. So much of therapy is pablum. REBT is rational, practical, and effective.

  35. Shano, thanks for the link. That principal should be fired. The school system should bring in experts who can educate the staff and students about homophobia and the inappropriate use of humiliation as punishment.

    There was another story linked to on the pages about a girl being punished for intervening against bullies of a special needs girl after repeated attempts to get the bus driver and the administration to take action.

    Bullies are being encouraged.

    The articles I posted up thread have to do with the school systems bringing police into the schools. In MS, Black kids are being moved to jail without charges.

  36. In my utopia, the state/feds would provide for free education through college. We all benefit from an educated population. We should all pay for it and no one should be left out.

  37. The new French government has proposed banning homework for students K-8. Keep them stupid and dependent on govt. Tax the rich @ 91%. Viva la France!

  38. Patrick appointment signals looming voucher fight at Capitol
    By Peggy Fikac, Joe Holley | October 4, 2012 | Updated: October 4, 2012 12:13p Houston Chronicle

    With the appointment of state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, as chairman of the Senate Education committee, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst signaled that he got the message from the Tea Party wing of his party about the priority of school choice.

    Patrick, a Tea Party champion who will replace retiring state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, has been saying for months that he would push a voucher program this legislative session. Parents would be able to use vouchers to pay for sending their children to schools of their choice rather than public schools.

    Gov. Rick Perry’s recent appointment of former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, also an advocate of school choice, was another sign that the issue will be a high priority for the Republican majority in the legislature.

    “To me, school choice is the photo ID bill of this session,” Patrick said in August. “Our base has wanted us to pass photo voter ID for years, and we did it. They’ve been wanting us to pass school choice for years. This is the year to do it, in my view. That issue will do more to impact the future of Texas and the quality of education than anything else we could do.”

  39. Swedes havd free education after merit after basic 9 year program. Same for me as foreign student in ’69.
    Competitive to get a place. 5.0 out of 5.0 for doctor slot. Even evening classes at the university are free, but you must have academic qualifications. Like a degree, etc.

    Other schools are pay only and no grants. Student loans since before 1968 for cost of living and student subventioned housing (never enough).

    Many of my helpers are students or between courses. It is not easy even in a socialist country. We have currently and since over 6 years a right wing multi-party alliance.

    OTOTOT

    Germany has 3 times as much percentagewise renewable power as the USA. It can be rapidly done if the political will exists. 20 years.

  40. Elaine, Discipline and hard work makes for a successful society. Lack of discipline and laziness makes for a dependent society on the few who do work hard. But eventually you run out of other people’s money. I’ll take the former, how ’bout you?

  41. nick,

    Who are the dependents in society that you are talking about? You believe that only a few in our society work hard? I think you are wrong. I believe there are millions of hardworking Americans who find it difficult to make ends meet. I think there are millions of Americans like my ninety-four-year- old my mother who worked hard all of their lives and who now depend on Social Security.

  42. “That issue will do more to impact the future of Texas and the quality of education than anything else we could do.””

    Oh, yes.

  43. “….Louisiana Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, is retracting her support for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program, after realizing the money could be applied to Muslim schools, Livingston Parish News reports….”

    That paragraph says it all. You can see the real intent of the plan. You can see who put it together. You can certainly see the contempt for our secular Constitution and the bigotry that drives them. And Jindal wants to be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate? I think not.

  44. Bobby Jindal’s Science Problem
    Romney’s education surrogate promotes creationist nonsense in schools.
    By Kenneth R. Miller
    |Posted Monday, July 30, 2012
    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/07/bobby_jindal_possible_vice_presidential_pick_but_has_a_creationism_problem_.html

    Excerpt:
    Jindal has an elite résumé. He was a biology major at my school, Brown University, and a Rhodes scholar. He knows the science, or at least he ought to. But in his rise to prominence in Louisiana, he made a bargain with the religious right and compromised science and science education for the children of his state. In fact, Jindal’s actions at one point persuaded leading scientific organizations, including the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, to cross New Orleans off their list of future meeting sites (PDF).

    What did Jindal do to produce a hornet’s nest of “mad scientists,” as Times-Picayune writer James Gill described them? He signed into law, in Gill’s words, the “Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which is named for what it is designed to destroy.” The act allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to be brought into classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories,” including, of course, evolution. As educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realized, the act was intended to promote creationism as science. In April, Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science at Louisiana State University, testified before the Louisiana Senate’s Education Committee that two top scientists had rejected offers to come to LSU because of the LSEA, and the school may lose more scientists in the future.

    And now Jindal is poised to spend millions of dollars of state money to support the teaching of creationism in private schools.

    The state of Louisiana has had a problem with evolution for a long, long time. In 1981, it passed a “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act,” which required the teaching of creation science alongside “evolution-science” in public schools. The Supreme Court struck it down in 1987 (in Edwards v. Aguillard), finding that creationism is inherently religious, and that the law’s “preeminent religious purpose” placed it in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Case closed? Not really.

    When Jindal stepped into Republican politics in Louisiana, he had a choice to make. He could defend mainstream science, which sees evolution as the powerful, strongly supported, and widely tested theory that it is today. Or he could have joined the doubters and deniers that populate the electorate in his party. Campaigning for the governorship in 2007, Jindal touted his Christian faith, shied away from specific statements about evolution, and emphasized his commitment to local control of education. Louisianans didn’t have to wait long to find out what this meant for science.

    Jindal signed the LSEA into law in 2008, endorsing the thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism into the science classrooms of his state. The backers of the law made it clear that material on intelligent design would be high on the list of supplemental materials that local boards and teachers could present to their students. Intelligent design is the re-labeled form of creationism that a federal court in Pennsylvania threw out of classrooms in the 2005 Dover v. Kitzmiller decision. The National Academy of Sciences has identified intelligent design as “not science” because it is “not testable by the methods of science.” The National Academy of Science’s opinion carried little weight with the Ivy League bio major.

    In a 2008 interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Jindal said that he wanted students “to be presented with the best thinking, I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves, I want them to see the best data. … I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness.” The problem, of course, is that if the “best science,” in the view of a local school board, includes creationism, the students in that school system are being cheated. Presenting an idea that has no scientific support as if it were the equal of a thoroughly tested scientific theory is academic dishonesty of the rankest sort. Indeed, this is why Jindal’s own genetics professor at Brown University, National Academy member Arthur Landy, advised him to veto the LSEA, advice Jindal ignored.

    Jindal has an elite résumé. He was a biology major at my school, Brown University, and a Rhodes scholar. He knows the science, or at least he ought to. But in his rise to prominence in Louisiana, he made a bargain with the religious right and compromised science and science education for the children of his state. In fact, Jindal’s actions at one point persuaded leading scientific organizations, including the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, to cross New Orleans off their list of future meeting sites (PDF).

    What did Jindal do to produce a hornet’s nest of “mad scientists,” as Times-Picayune writer James Gill described them? He signed into law, in Gill’s words, the “Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), which is named for what it is designed to destroy.” The act allows “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” to be brought into classrooms to support the “open and objective discussion” of certain “scientific theories,” including, of course, evolution. As educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realized, the act was intended to promote creationism as science. In April, Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science at Louisiana State University, testified before the Louisiana Senate’s Education Committee that two top scientists had rejected offers to come to LSU because of the LSEA, and the school may lose more scientists in the future.

    And now Jindal is poised to spend millions of dollars of state money to support the teaching of creationism in private schools.

    The state of Louisiana has had a problem with evolution for a long, long time. In 1981, it passed a “Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act,” which required the teaching of creation science alongside “evolution-science” in public schools. The Supreme Court struck it down in 1987 (in Edwards v. Aguillard), finding that creationism is inherently religious, and that the law’s “preeminent religious purpose” placed it in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Case closed? Not really.

    When Jindal stepped into Republican politics in Louisiana, he had a choice to make. He could defend mainstream science, which sees evolution as the powerful, strongly supported, and widely tested theory that it is today. Or he could have joined the doubters and deniers that populate the electorate in his party. Campaigning for the governorship in 2007, Jindal touted his Christian faith, shied away from specific statements about evolution, and emphasized his commitment to local control of education. Louisianans didn’t have to wait long to find out what this meant for science.

    Jindal signed the LSEA into law in 2008, endorsing the thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism into the science classrooms of his state. The backers of the law made it clear that material on intelligent design would be high on the list of supplemental materials that local boards and teachers could present to their students. Intelligent design is the re-labeled form of creationism that a federal court in Pennsylvania threw out of classrooms in the 2005 Dover v. Kitzmiller decision. The National Academy of Sciences has identified intelligent design as “not science” because it is “not testable by the methods of science.” The National Academy of Science’s opinion carried little weight with the Ivy League bio major.

    In a 2008 interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, Jindal said that he wanted students “to be presented with the best thinking, I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves, I want them to see the best data. … I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness.” The problem, of course, is that if the “best science,” in the view of a local school board, includes creationism, the students in that school system are being cheated. Presenting an idea that has no scientific support as if it were the equal of a thoroughly tested scientific theory is academic dishonesty of the rankest sort. Indeed, this is why Jindal’s own genetics professor at Brown University, National Academy member Arthur Landy, advised him to veto the LSEA, advice Jindal ignored.

  45. Louisiana education case highlights Bobby Jindal’s creationism state
    Lawsuit over school voucher programme calls attention to controversial policy, which could hamper governor’s ambitions
    Paul Harris in New York
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 November 2012
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/28/bobby-jindal-louisiana-creationism-case

    Excerpt:
    One of the main Louisiana voices against the scheme is student activist Zack Kopplin. He began protesting the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act – a law that allowed public funds to be used at schools that teach creationism – as a high school project.

    In the wake of the creation of the voucher scheme this summer Kopplin has detailed at least 20 Louisiana schools that teach elements of creationism and are involved in the voucher programme. One school, Claiborne Christian School, has a student handbook that says it will “look to the Bible as the main source of knowledge in all areas”.

    A 2010 Claiborne newsletter also questioned current science on the age of the Earth. Another school on the scheme is the Faith Academy, whose student handbook insists students should “defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible versus traditional scientific theory”.

    Other Louisiana schools use textbooks, DVDs and other materials designed by Christian groups that often defend the idea of a young earth created a few thousand years ago or promote so-called “intelligent design” which holds that evolution cannot account for the development of complex biological systems, such as the eye.

    “This is ridiculous. When I first heard about it, I thought someone needs to fight it. But no one did,” said Kopplin, explaining why he began his work examining the impact of the voucher system.

    The “stealth creationism” has been roundly condemned by numerous education groups, including a letter signed by some 77 Nobel laureates who have won the international prize in fields like chemistry, biology, medicine or physics. “It is vital that students have a sound education about major scientific concepts and their applications,” the letter stated, asking for repeal of the education law that helped pave the way for the scheme.

    Other experts are more blunt. While conservatives have argued the voucher scheme is an innovative way of getting pupils out of poor schools – and encouraging needed reforms in the system – critics have said that exposing pupils to creationism gives them a much worse factual education.

    “It is not better education. It is inferior when you are teaching kids that the earth is 6,000 years old. A lot of public money is going to schools that teach creationism and fundamentalist science. I think that is dreadful,” said Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and an outspoken critic of creationist activists in education.

  46. “Creationism” is really not an ism; it is the pretend belief that the JudeaChristian religious story of the origin of the universe is actually cosmology. Religious stories should only be taught in religious schools for religious people who choose to go to them, funded privately, or they should be taught as part of a history class or a “philosophy of religion” class to illustrate how various religions have come up with answers to various questions. Tax dollars can pay for comparative religion courses in public schools but not for private schools that teach religion as if it were science or some other subject.

  47. Elaine, We’ve had this problem previously where you forget prior comments. The discussion took a detour to new French educational policies in the news. Shano responded and YOU responded. I was still on France when I spoke of laziness and taxes and somehow you thought I was talking about your grandmother..presumably American. So…I pointed out I was talking about France. Take notes if you can’t follow your own thread. And, when you will now respond that “This is about school vouchers in La.” I’ll preemptively state discussions here often take detours. This detour was on the topic of educational policy. You didn”t complain one bit when it was brought up and actually responded to it. Now you’re complaining. Let’s just end this now. It’s silly.

  48. nick,

    I didn’t make any comment about French society. I made a comment that homework doesn’t make one smart–and that lack of homework doesn’t keep one stupid. That’s all. It seemed to me that your comment implied that if kids don’t do homework they’ll be stupid.

  49. nick spinelli 1, December 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Elaine, Discipline and hard work makes for a successful society. Lack of discipline and laziness makes for a dependent society on the few who do work hard. But eventually you run out of other people’s money. I’ll take the former, how ’bout you?

    *****

    You should be more precise when writing comments. How was I to know that you were talking about France when no mention was made of the country in the comment that you addressed to me?

    BTW, I didn’t complain. I merely asked you a question. Why the hostility?

  50. nick,

    You’ve voiced your support for the Louisiana voucher program. You think that lack of homework will make kids stupid but you don’t think that children who attend private and religious schools that teach things like creation “science” won’t grow up to be stupid/ill-informed about the history of this planet and the universe, the origins of life, evolution, etc.?

  51. Disagreement is not hostile, although you do like to attempt to manipulate that in instances such as this. Is saying something is “silly” hostile? If you can’t follow your own thread and make quite simple connections from one comment to another, that’s your problem, not mine. It’s akin to people who don’t know how to listen, just wait to talk and remember nothing that was said by the othe person a minute ago. You’re not one of those folks are you?

  52. nick,

    You’re the one who thought my question was a complaint. There you go–scolding me again!

    Most people don’t sit at the computer hour after hour and read and write comments on this blog. We come and go. Sometimes a person may miss reading some comments on a post. Sometimes a person may respond to another person’s comment hours–and sometimes days–later. Comments can be all over the place on a post. That’s why it helps to be specific as to what you are making reference in a comment directed to someone.

    I thought you were the guy who said he didn’t take these discussions too seriously. Lighten up, will ya?

  53. Elaine, You’ve used that excuse previously when we had this discussion. I would never accept that type of excuse from a student. And, maybe you’re projecting on the “lighten up.” I’m cool w/ all this. I really am. I don’t hide my emotions well, folks know w/o a doubt when I’m pissed. As I said @ the outset, we fundamentally disagree on this subject. I accept that and sincerely respect your passion, I merely disagree.

  54. nick,

    I’m not your student–and this isn’t school. BTW, it wasn’t an excuse–it was an explanation of how things work around here sometimes.

    You have a funny way of “exuding” cool in print.

  55. For nick, a smattering of reading from a real textbook for schools in Texas.

    ‘World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective':

    During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, several liberal philosophies arose in the name of science but were really “science falsely so called” (1 Tim. 6:20)

    “These pseudosciences (Greek pseudo: “false”) and their founders all related to one another in their desire to strike down absolute truth and rebel against God.

    The wicked influence of positivism, Darwinism, and religious liberalism caused people to lose confidence in the existence of a personal God and to turn instead to psychology (the study of the mind) for answers regarding human behavior. Sigmund Freud [1856-1939], a prominent Austrian psychiatrist, believed that man was a product of evolution and nothing more than a highly developed animal. He formulated a system known as psychoanalysis, which says that subconscious physical drives or irrational fears determine a man’s actions. According to Freud, man is not responsible for his behavior, and any guilt experienced by someone over his actions can be relieved by blaming his subconscious drives. Freud’s liberal claims denied the Biblical teachings that man is born with a sinful nature and is in need of salvation through Jesus Christ.

    In contrast to these pseudoscientific ideas stand the genuine accomplishments of true science in the 20th century. While positivistic “scientists” tried to discover “laws” that set mankind drifting away from absolute truths, real scientists devoted their time and talent striving to understand the absolute order and harmony by which God designed and created the universe. True science follows God’s command to “subdue the earth and have dominion over it” (Gen. 1:27-28), rather than trying to subdue mankind with false philosophies. Indeed, true science’s view of absolutes has been the basis for all great scientific achievements throughout the ages.”

  56. Elaine, When you said “I’m not your student” I said to myself, BINGO, and I’m not yours. It sucks when someone acts like a schoolteacher in this forum..nobody likes it and for good reason.

    shano, I’ll stipulate there are some far out books and teaching. Supervison of schools receiving voucher money can monitor that. I’m certain union teachers would volunteer their time to audit classes in voucher schools. I know history teachers in public schools who play movies over 50% of the time. Now, they’re appropriate movies for the most part. And, I love movies and played some for discussion and essays to follow. Mississippi Burning, Glory, Schindler’s List, to name a few. But I’m talking about teachers playing movies and falling asleep..SNORING! It happens all the time. There’s educational malpractrice in virtually every school, private and public.

  57. Shano, you scared the bejeebers out of me. Do you have the citation for that text book? (It should be called a “text boo” which is how I first typed it, thanks to a typo!)

  58. nick,

    You’re the one who has been doing the lecturing. All I did was make a brief comment about homework and ask you a simple question. Evidently, you’re not a man of few words.

  59. nick,

    Supervision of voucher schools that aren’t required by law to meet the same testing standards as the public schools? Who is going to write and pass a law that allows public school teachers to “monitor” what goes on in private schools?

    *****

    From the National School Boards Association:

    Some private schools participating in Louisiana voucher program teach Creationism, not Evolution
    http://legalclips.nsba.org/?p=15635

    Excerpt:
    Refusal to teach evolution or challenging it as refutable will not get a school booted from the voucher program. College student Zack Kopplin, an outspoken critic of teaching creationism in science classrooms, found at least 19 of the 119 mostly religious schools in the voucher program either promote creationism or teach with curricula from Christian textbook publishers that are known to challenge Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The schools cited by Kopplin’s research have been approved to take in more than 750 voucher students and receive more than $4 million in taxpayer funding, in the first round of announced voucher assignments for the 2012-13 school year.

  60. And then there is this problem as well. Multinationals writing our school programs which are being rubber stamped by administrators and politicians. What kind of slant do you think corporate America, through ALEC, will find advantageous to teach our kids?

  61. Stateside Louisiana: School Vouchers and the Privatization of Public Education
    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/08/13/stateside-louisiana-school-vouchers-and-the-privatization-of-public-education/

    Excerpt:
    According to Simon, there are private schools in Louisiana that have been approved to receive state funds that “use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.” Many of the schools “rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based ‘facts,’ such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience…” (14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools)

    *****

    14 Wacky “Facts” Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools
    —By Deanna Pan
    | Tue Aug. 7, 2012
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

  62. shano, I coached a young woman exchange student from Finland. I coached baseball for decades but softball for only a few years. This engaging young woman wanted to play a team sport as part of her American experience. We talked about Finland education. After she got to know me she opened up and said how much better Finland’s system and teachers were. I kept in touch w/ her for several years. She’s now an MD. I coached her during the summer and learned she had never been to a ML game. So, I organized a trip w/ the whole team to see a Brewer’s v Reds game. Tailgating is big in Milwaukee. I asked her what she wanted. Well, she wanted Wi. bratwurst but she REALLY wanted roasted corn on the cob. It was peak season for corn. The kid really wanted a beer[she was 19] but I told her I just couldn’t do it. She totally understood. She was a horrible player but a great team player. I was honored to coach her.

    We Americans can be so provincial. So many countries have much to teach us, particularly in education. But, too many Americans think we have all the answers.

  63. New Orleans Schools Reject Creationism: No Teacher ‘Shall Teach Any Aspect Of Religious Faith As Science’
    By Zack Beauchamp
    Dec 19, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/12/19/1359641/new-orleans-texas-curriculum/

    A Louisiana school district voted on Wednesday to ban from its schools any textbooks and school curricula that follows the guidelines of Texas’ extreme, ideological standards.

    Texas approved a hard-right curriculum in 2010 that taught utterly misleading assertions as fact — suggesting, for example, that Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch hunt had been vindicated and that the Crusades didn’t happen. But Orleans Parish (which covers New Orleans) schools were so worried about the spread of misinformation that it approved explicit rules in protest of Texas’s guidelines, requiring teachers to teach accurate historical and scientific information which wouldn’t necessarily be conveyed under Texas rules:

    “No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories…No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class,” it reads. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

    Though Texas cannot legally require the teaching of creationism, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) has said “we teach both creation and evolution our public schools” as a consequence of his policy choices.

    Two years ago, proposed Texas textbook changes sparked outrage by rewriting history along right-wing lines and minimizing slavery. While not fully successful, the watered-down version still conveyed an entirely skewed vision of history. A recent review of the books, for example, found a consistent pattern of viciously negative portrayals of Muslims and Islam.

  64. The Court Brings The Big Hammer Down On Bobby
    By Charles P. Pierce
    5/7/13
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/louisiana-court-finds-bobby-jindal-education-reform-unconsititutional-050713

    Excerpt:
    Something there is about “Bobby” Jindal, the soon-to-be-discarded hunk of presidential timber now serving as the governor of Louisiana, that the Supreme Court of his state doesn’t like very much. This gives the Supreme Court Of Louisiana something in common with the rest of the country, which decided long ago that it doesn’t much care what the smart money says, “Bobby” Jindal is a guy who has to be secured to the floor of his office every morning lest he float off in the general direction of the Algiers docks.

    And boom, as the kidz say, goes the dynamite.

    “The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that the current method of funding the statewide school voucher program is unconstitutional. Act 2, part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 package of education reforms, diverts money from each student’s per-pupil allocation to cover the cost of private or parochial school tuition. The act authorizes both the Louisiana Scholarship Program and the new Course Choice program. The vote was 6-1, with Justice Greg Guidry dissenting. The plaintiffs in the case include the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana School Boards Association.”

    You can’t use public money to support religious schools. Period. It is the most preposterously obvious violation of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment this side of the outright attempt by the newly insane state of North Carolina to establish Christianity as an official religion. Not only that, but the court also slaps “Bobby” around for the finagling that was necessary to get the preposterously obvious violation through the legislature in the first place.

    (And that’s not even to get into the fact that the Tennessee legislature recently killed its own bill to use public money to finance religious schools when it was discovered that this meant public money might also go to Muslim schools. Aieeeee! Mr. Madison had your number, boyos.)

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