Louisiana Teachers Union Makes Racially-Charged Claims about Black Education Reform Group
Louisiana Federation of Teachers makes outlandish, groundless claims that Black Alliance for Educational Options “endorses teaching that the KKK is good”
BATON ROUGE, LA (August 30, 2012)—One of the largest teachers’ unions in Louisiana said in a statement early today that the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)—a national group committed to helping give low-income African American families access to high-quality educational choices—“endorses teaching that the KKK is good,” a baseless an unsubstantiated claim that represents a new low in their continued opposition to reforms that challenge the educational status quo.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice, and a strong and unwavering BAEO ally—strongly condemned the remarks from the Louisiana Federation for Teachers (LFT), which appeared in a message posted on the official LFT Twitter page early this morning. The message was followed up with dozens of additional Twitter messages doubling down on the racist remarks, making demeaning statements about BAEO and other education reform groups and individuals, and making false claims about the nature of the statewide voucher program, its supporters, and how it affects children and families.
At no point on the Twitter feed does the LFT substantiate its claims—those that are completely at odds with the mission of BAEO and its like-minded allies.
“This is an absolutely appalling move by an organization that has taken desperation to new and unseen heights,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the Federation and the former board chair of BAEO. “BAEO and its allies fight every single day to give children from low-income families access to the best educational options possible. We fight to overcome the institutional bigotry that has sentenced thousands of black children across the country to a substandard education. It’s a sad day when an organization like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which says it cares about kids, is among the organizations using degrading, race-baiting tactics to demean the very people who are doing their best to give kids hope.”
Chavous also demanded an apology from the LFT, and called on them to retract their statements or provide evidence backing up their unfounded claims.
“The LFT owes an apology to the thousands of black families across Louisiana who, through the work of BAEO and others, have gained access to an education that has changed their lives for the better,” Chavous said. “That the LFT would also stoop to such a level as families pray for safety in the shadow of a hurricane demonstrates more clearly than ever that this is a group that is out of touch with black families, the values of the people of Louisiana, the history of our country, and basic reality.”
This is the second time in just over a month that a local teachers union has resorted to shameful tactics to try to prevent low-income families from taking advantage of the statewide voucher program. In July, a lawyer on behalf of the Louisiana Association of Educators sent a letter to schools participating in the voucher program, threatening them with lawsuits if they did not drop out of the program. So far, not a single school has stopped its participating.
“The resolve of parents and schools is far greater than the threatening or racist scare-tactics from special interest groups,” Chavous said. “Families will not be intimidated, and they will continue to fight to give their children the best education possible.”