When Styx’s Tommy Shaw sang “too much time on my hands” he claimed to be a “jet fuel genius who can solve the world’s problems without even trying”. This must be what drives Attorney General Eric Holder to continue the unconstitutional federal intrusion into that most local of all issues: education. Last week Holder sued(1) the Jindal administration to prevent the 2013 school voucher program from going forward. Holder claims the program violates de- segregation decrees our Federal overlords handed down to us including 1975’s Brumfeld v Dodd. If anyone cares to see the end result of imposed de-segregation orders, take a trip into any public school district in the City of New Orleans. The solution Holder exalts has defied the purported intent with entire school districts now being made up of nearly all black students. Tulane University’s Cowen Institute reports that “In the 2011-12 school year, 90 percent of public school students in New Orleans were African American”.(3)
If the teachers union’s henchmen and Holder had actually read the Dodd case(4) they would know that the court’s order is not being violated by Jindal’s program because Dodd applied specifically to: “. … textbooks… school supplies…equipment…or funds… to any racially discriminatory private school or to any racially segregated private school.” No one is alleging that any such segregated teaching environment exists in the state save for the aforementioned Orleans Parish public school system. The six (6) parishes covered by Dodd, including St Tammany, should respond with incredulity to Holder’s analysis of the voucher program being a tool of segregationists.
To top off this sorry chapter in the collapse of our formerly federal empire, cases like this have undermined the concept that parents, keeping their own dollars FROM the State, and spending them where they choose to for education is the true system of “school choice” as governor Jindal observed “…the federal government is stepping in to prevent parents from exercising this right. Shame on them.” Indeed, the Tulane study concluded “Public school reform cannot succeed without buy-in from students, families, teachers, and leaders.”(5) A buy in that require a butt-out from Eric Holder.