Federal Court Rules in Favor of Louisiana School Children

Slams DOJ’s attempt to undermine Louisiana Scholarship Program

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice and its state affiliate, the Louisiana Federation for Children, celebrated a decision from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in ruling against the U.S. Department of Justice’s attempt to regulate and undermine the state’s private school choice program, the Louisiana Scholarship Program.

“Today’s decision is a win for children, especially the more than 7,100 children who rely on the Louisiana Scholarship Program to attend a quality school of their parents’ choice,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children. “The U.S. Department of Justice attempted to play politics and was caught red handed and reprimanded by this Court.”

The Court’s decision began, in part, DOJ’s attempt to shoehorn its regulation of the voucher program into an entirely unrelated forty-year-old case represents more than ineffective lawyering. Despite the district court’s contrary conclusion, it seems plain that DOJ’s expressed concern—how the voucher program affects statewide public schools racially—has nothing to do with the narrow issues considered in the Brumfield litigation.

“I applaud the Court’s common sense decision to side in favor of the Louisiana school children, all of whom are from low-income families and almost all of whom are a minority,” said Ann Duplessis, president of the Louisiana Federation for Children. “Today’s decision is a clear victory for parents. The U.S. Department of Justice tried to use a 40 year old desegregation case to undermine a program that’s designed to empower low-income families with children trapped in failing schools a pathway to a higher quality education.”

Program Facts:

  • The Louisiana Scholarship Program was created in 2008 by a bipartisan group of legislators
  • 7% of students participating in the program are classified as minority
  • 100% of the program students come from low-income families assigned to poor or failing schools
  • Recent studies have demonstrated that the voucher program actually helps integration in LA
  • Participation in the program increased by more than 43 percent since it has expanded statewide in 2012 to 7,110 students

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