The battle over Gov. Jindal’s education reform initiative ensued today in the wake of House bills and it’s companions in the Senate being passed in committee last week as Democratic House leaders took to a podium at the Capitol’s East Garden for a press conference in a futile effort to block reforms Louisianians want.
The press conference provides lots of good fodder for us at The Hayride, starting with an issue that has particularly irked me about the school voucher debate.
Democrats opposed to the governor’s reforms have worked hard to put forth the notion that private and parochial schools that would receive voucher students have no way to be held accountable because they won’t have to submit to the same letter-grade evaluation that private schools are under.
Rep. John Bel Edwards and Rep. Pat Smith once again trotted out the tired mantra that the state is the primary arbiter whether a school is educating a child properly:
Fortunately, amidst the regular media folks that mostly lobbed softball questions for these Democrats—they saved the hardballs for Education Superintendent John White who spoke later–your trusty Hayride blogger was there to rain on their propaganda parade.
The idea that there is no accountability for private schools receiving vouchered students is complete nonsense, of course.
The reason that private schools traditionally perform better that their private counterparts is that those that don’t won’t stay in business very long. The market dictates these things. Parents aren’t going to be shelling out bucks for a private school that gives their kids an education that’s not as good as the one they would be getting from a public school—that’s a given.
I pointed this out to Edwards, along with the fact that under the school choice bill parents get to preference the private-parochial school and could chose to withdraw their child from the school and return him or her to a private school.
Given this, isn’t there an argument to be made that there is more accountability in private-parochial schools?
Apparently, these Democrats agree that only the state has the tools to decide whether or not a child is going to a good school.
It doesn’t seem to matter that voucher students would have to take the same standardized test that public school students take, parents still wouldn’t get it.
Lower income parents are especially clueless. As Louisiana Association of Educators Executive Director Michael Walker-Jones puts it, “If I’m a parent in poverty I have no clue because I’m trying to struggle and live day to day. The idea of parents making decisions simply based on choice is the abandonment of public schools.”
That’s insulting to the say the least, but it’s to be expected that these people believe the state is superior to regular folks in making decisions about their lives—they are Democrats, after all.
They also have a vested interest in keeping their constituents under educated—who else would vote for them?