President Obama spoke about the fulfilling the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who hoped every American child receive a good education, but his Justice Department is using a civil rights law to shut down a school choice program that allows black children to escape failing schools.
“[W]e can stand together for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit, and prepares them for the world that awaits them,” Obama said during his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in commemoration of the March on Washington.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., made the same point in a more policy-driven comment. “It’s incredible to me that the Justice Department is trying to use the same rules that were designed to protect kids — low-income, minority kids, [rules] designed to help them go and get a better education — are trying to use those rules to trap these kids in failing schools,” Jindal said Tuesday.
Jindal was remarking on a DOJ lawsuit asking a judge to shut down a school choice program that allows poor students in schools rated C, D, or F to receive a voucher that pays their tuition at a school of their parents’ choosing.
The Justice Department argues that this program has racist outcomes. “Students leaving these schools with State-issued vouchers impeded the desegregation process by increasing the racial identifiability of these schools,” DOJ argued in a petition filed last week. “[T]he loss of students through the voucher program reversed much of the progress made toward desegregation.”
Jindal pointed out that “ninety percent of these kids are minorities” in his statement to the press. “This is the Obama administration, this is Washington D.C., putting the needs of government unions over the needs of our children.”