Louisiana judge blocks Bobby Jindal's 'unconstitutional' signature school voucher program
In a major blow to Indian-origin Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's school reform efforts, a state judge found that his signature state school voucher program, which makes nearly half the state's students eligible to attend private schools, is unconstitutional.
Louisiana's program, pushed through in April by Jindal, allows families of four earning not more than 57,000 dollars a year to receive vouchers for private schools.
Its goal is to impose competition on public schools while allowing poorer parents to move their children out of failing schools. About 450,000 Louisiana pupils are eligible, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
According to the report, teachers unions have blasted the program, complaining that some of the private schools receiving the money focus on so-called Young Earth Creationism over evolution.
While Jindal will appeal against Judge Tim Kelley's ruling to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the ruling's main importance is how it's likely to create more debate about how to fund state voucher plans, which currently are in place in 12 states, about half designed for children with certain disabilities, the report added.
According to the report, the ruling is a big disappointment for Jindal, who's widely seen as a rising star in the Republican Party's stable of nationally competitive candidates, potentially for president.
"The ruling is wrong-headed and a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education," Jindal said.