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The legality of Louisiana's school privatization-via-vouchers program is still up in the air, but Gov. Bobby Jindal is going right ahead expanding it anyway, with money going to a host of creationist Christian schools. In March, the state Supreme Court heard an appeal to a district court judge's ruling that it's unconstitutional to take money from the public schools to fund private schools; that appeal hasn't yet been decided. Apparently Jindal is taking that uncertainty in the manner of drivers who accelerate when a traffic light turns yellow. In northeastern Lousiana, for instance:
All nine schools participating in northeastern Louisiana were awarded additional seats. New Living Word in Ruston received the most, with an additional 117 scholarships for a total of 214 awarded for the 2013-14 school year. [...]
Family Christian Academy will increase from 43 to 104 while Claiborne Christian Academy will increase from 23 to 32. Northeast Louisiana Baptist School will increase from 19 to 20, Old Bethel Christian Academy from 20 to 25, Our Lady of Fatima from 40 to 59, Prevailing Faith Christian Academy from fewer than 10 to 17, Quest School from fewer than 10 to 12 and St. Frederick High School from 11 to 14.
Let's take a look at a few of those schools, shall we? In a Claiborne Christian Academy newsletter:
[T]he principal promotes young-earth creationist talking points from Answers in Genesis, saying, “Our position at CCS on the age of the Earth and other issues is that any theory that goes against God’s Word is in error.” She also claims that scientists are “sinful men” trying to explain the world “without God” so they don’t have to be “morally accountable to Him.”
New Living Word, meanwhile, "has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition." New Living Word is not alone in being a "school" at which instruction comes mainly through DVDs or workbooks rather than from trained teachers.
This is what state education money is going to in Louisiana. Jindal and other proponents of privatization say it's done in the name of choice, but the war on public education—on education itself—is barely disguised if you look beyond the press releases.
Tue May 07, 2013 at 3:59 PM PT: The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled six to one that the voucher funding mechanism violates the state constitution. Jindal is saying, though, that he'll fund the vouchers some other way, so public funding for creationist teaching is still happening in Louisiana.