It’s no secret that Governor John Bel Edwards is a shill for the Soviet schools in this state, but its surprising that many Republicans are also enablers of these failures. These obsolete industrial era schools require students to attend schools based on where they live. This makes as much sense as assigning grocery stores based on addresses.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette) had HB 1167 that would’ve allowed every student in Louisiana to choose the Soviet school of their choice in their parish. For example, if a student lives in a Soviet school district that scores a “D” or “F” in state tests, they could transfer to another school in the district with better performance. This bill would not have expanded charter schools or vouchers.
The bill was defeated 50-41. The usual Democrat shills for the Soviet schools voted against it. But many Republicans joined them, particularly from suburban parishes such as Ascension, Livingston, and St. Tammany.
Many red herrings have been raised over this bill. The first is that it would violate desegregation court orders that many Louisiana school districts are under. It had language that would’ve mandated compliance with any Federal court orders for starters.
But this bill would’ve helped desegregate Louisiana’s public schools. The students who would’ve likely taken advantage of this were black students trapped in failing schools who would’ve transferred to the better performing and mostly white schools. This probably explains why the head of the Legislative Black Caucus, State Rep. Katrina Jackson, voted better on this bill than many Republicans.
This also would’ve forced competition into the Soviet schools. If the a Soviet school doesn’t want to lose students to another Soviet school, it would have to improve. When there is competition, consumers win. When schools compete against each other for students, students win.
Republicans claim to be the party of individual choice and freedom. However, many members of the Republican delegation decided to vote against it. They choose instead to stand with entrenched bureaucracies.
Many Republicans are considering leaving the Republican Party, especially now that Donald Trump is the party’s nominee. Many of these people think the GOP has betrayed what it stands for. The Republicans in the legislature certainly aren’t helping that argument.