Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jindal's vouchers deny real choice to parents

The hypocrisy of Gov. Bobby Jindal's scheme to push vouchers on the taxpayers of Louisiana was revealed when he admitted that he has no plan to hold private and religious schools to the same standard as public schools.

The governor has repeatedly asserted that his aim in spending public education dollars on private and religious school tuition is to give parents more and better choices for their children.

If that were a true statement, then Gov. Jindal would want schools that accept vouchers to allow a fair comparison with their public counterparts. Students in those schools would be tested, teachers would be evaluated, schools would receive School Performance Scores and letter grades.

But as Gannett reporter Mike Hasten writes here, Gov. Jindal will refuse to allow parents access to the information they need to make an informed choice.

That shocking revelation came after Indiana Superintendent of Education Tony Bennett told a crowd in Baton Rouge that his state's voucher system requires all schools to submit to the state's accountability program and test every student.

Asked if our governor intends to follow suit in Louisiana, "Jindal said he believes 'parents are the best accountability program' and if they are not satisfied with the education their children receive, they can pull them from private schools."

Louisiana's Catholic schools, the primary recipients of voucher funds, have opposed any effort to require state accountability in return for accepting taxpayer dollars.

In recent days, the governor has harshly condemned critics who point out that his scheme does not give parents the information they need to make an informed choice. His overheated rhetoric is intended to hide this giant flaw in his education agenda.

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