Louisiana schools

Louisiana’s mission to fund religious schools is fun to watch (ok, not really since it will hurt a lot of children). The latest:

Superintendent John White and Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater made just such a claim, saying that enacting an injunction on the voucher program, for which 8,000 students have already applied, would lead to a $3.4 billion hole in the state’s education budget.

However, as Brian Blackwell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “That’s just kind of crazy. … There’s no way that not spending money can cause a deficit. When you don’t fund something, you can’t have a deficit. There’s no deficit if you can’t spend.” Blackwell pointed out that the funds have already been sent to the Department of Education and that an injunction would merely prevent the money from being distributed.

The reason this is coming up:

There are also concerns about how the program might meld government and religion. Of the 120 private schools approved by the state government, the majority are Christian-based and monitored far more loosely by the state than their public counterparts, according to Reuters.

Such as:

The school willing to accept the most voucher students —  314 — is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked  basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day  watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of  an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with  subjects such chemistry or composition.
The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a  bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has  plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students,  worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.
At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake,  pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra  space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room  for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students  sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace  through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text  that explains “what God made” on each of the six days of  creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.
“We try to stay away from all those things that might  confuse our children,” Carrier said.

I guess Eternity Christian isn’t going to be teaching much since almost everything might confuse a child. And no worries about those pesky standards for these schools:

In Louisiana, Superintendent of Education John White said  state officials have at one time or another visited all 120  schools in the voucher program and approved their curricula,  including specific texts. He said the state plans more “due  diligence” over the summer, including additional site visits to  assess capacity.
In general, White said he will leave it to principals to be  sure their curriculum covers all subjects kids need and leave it  to parents to judge the quality of each private school on the  list.

This stuff looks bad, so the state is trying to divert attention:

A tiny private school in a remote part of the state is turning into a big headache for Louisiana’s governor and its top education official. In the latest twist, emails have surfaced showing state Superintendent John White laying out a plan aimed — at least in part — at “muddying up the narrative” reporters have been telling about the school.

The problem is that details like this keep coming out:

New Living Word, a school that has been approved for more voucher students than any other school in the state. The Rev. Jerry Baldwin, the school’s principal, told the newspaper that although he had neither the facilities nor the teachers to accommodate that many students, he was moving ahead “on faith” with the expansion plans.

The newspaper also reported that tuition for voucher students would be set at $8,500, just under the cap, while the rest of the school’s students are on a “tuition assistance program.”

That’s despite the fact that private schools in the program are not allowed to charge the state more than they do the rest of their students.

and:

Rep. Kenneth Havard, R-Jackson, objected to including the Islamic School of Greater New Orleans in a list of schools approved by the education department to accept as many as 38 voucher students. Havard said he wouldn’t support any spending plan that “will fund Islamic teaching.”

“I won’t go back home and explain to my people that I supported this,” he said.

Hmm, so it’s only supposed to fund Christian schools–wouldn’t that be basically establishing a state religion?

Go here and here (and continued here) for some of the curriculum these schools might use, such as:

 -The Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution

– Science Proves Homosexuality is a Learned Behavior

– The Second Law of Thermodynamics Disproves Evolution

– No Transitional Fossils Exist

– Humans and Dinosaurs Co-Existed

– Evolution Has Been Disproved

– A Japanese Whaling Boat Found a Dinosaur

– Solar Fusion is a Myth

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  1. Trackback: Bobby Jindal « Petunias

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