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Loud Speaker: Boehner, Jeb Bush Weigh in on La. Vouchers

The Department of Justice’s inquiry and potential shutdown of Louisiana’s school voucher program brought in more political heat this week, but this time it went all the way up to the Speaker. Six GOP Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, called out Attorney General Eric Holder and the DOJ for bringing desegregation into a legal inquiry about the state voucher program backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, calling the claim “troubling and paradoxical.”


Boehner's comments came in a letter addressed to Holder about the allegations the DOJ made against Louisiana’s ACT 2 program, which came at the end of August.


While the program is meant to empower low-income families, the Justice Department’s concern was that this program overrules federal desegregation orders, and led the Department to request an injunction and halt the program before the 2014 school term.



"...the United State is not asking that this Court enjoin the State from awarding any school vouchers," the Department’s documents state. "With respect to students attending school districts operating under federal desegregation orders, however, the United States requests that this Court permanently enjoin the State from issuing any future voucher awards to these students unless and until it [Louisiana] obtains authorization from the federal court overseeing the applicable desegregation case."



In his own letter, Speaker Boehner brings up some of Jindal's own points about why the voucher program is necessary. Boehner and the others write that the program allows hundreds of low-income children to escape deplorable school conditions and that any hault to this program would essentially damn them back to those schools, halting their educations.



“The Department’s allegation that the Louisiana Program could impede the desgregation process is extrememly puzzling and paradoxical in nature,” Boehner wrote. “If DOJ is succesful in shutting down this invaluable school choice initiative, not only will students across Louisiana be forced to remin in failing schools, but it could have a reverberating effect and cause other states to feel pressured to shut down similar intiatives that provide countless children the opportunity to receive a better education.”


That letter was also signed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN).


The statement issued to the public also claims that these Republican leaders want, “detailed information about the [DOJ’s] ill conceived decision, including an explaination of how its attempt to revoke scholarships and eliminate education choices will help low-income and minority children access better education opportunities.”


While all this is going on, Governor Jindal is meeting with former Govrenor Jeb Bush and currently serving Senator Tim Scott, to speak on this very issue at a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference, being held today.


No word on how any of these leaders plan to address the failing schools that exist in the state, should the suit endure.


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