The President’s Department of Justice is taking the State of Louisiana to court over its school voucher program and the lawsuit is such a bad idea that even the left-wing Washington Post is criticizing the administration for the slight, saying that AG Holder wants to “trap poor, black children in ineffective schools.”
The Post begins its editorial board September 1 piece pointing out that “nine of 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools are black. All are poor and, if not for the state assistance, would be consigned to low-performing or failing schools with little chance of learning the skills they will need to succeed as adults.”
But what the editorial board says in its next sentences is shocking for a paper that generally supports the left.
“So it’s bewildering, if not downright perverse,” the paper says, “for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due.”
The editorial board acknowledges the history of racism that Louisiana has, but notes that the voucher program has worked to give poor, black students advantages, not worked to hold them back or oppress them.
The paper also criticizes the DOJ’s arguments that black students leaving the public schools makes the racial balance tip in favor of whites by reporting that that balance was rarely tipped by more than a single percent or two making the supposed tipping rather meaningless.
But what is more important is that 86 percent of the students that have taken advantage of Louisiana’s voucher program have been minority students that come from schools rated some of the worst in the state and those students went on to find a better education.
The paper’s final paragraph is poignant.
Unfortunately, though, it is not a surprise from an administration that, despite its generally progressive views on school reform, has proven to be hostile — as witnessed by its petty machinations against D.C.’s voucher program — to the school choice afforded by private-school vouchers. Mr. White told us that from Day One, the five-year-old voucher program has been subject to unrelenting scrutiny and questions from federal officials. Louisiana parents are clamoring for the choice afforded by this program; the state is insisting on accountability; poor students are benefiting. The federal government should get out of the way.