Voucher advocates vow to fight federal challenge to scholarship program

Voucher advocates vow to fight federal challenge to scholarship program
Photo provided by staff

POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 7:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 7:04pm

Vouchers for 600 kids in 34 parishes across the state are now in danger of losing that opportunity.

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking to stop money from going to those students in parishes with open desegregation cases, something voucher advocates have said is a step backwards.

"We’re now 50 years later and a law has been passed to give poor children, low income children, the opportunity to seek better schools. In 2013, that's the battle that we have to fight," explained Dr. Howard Fuller of the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities.

Mitzi Crain-Dillon's children would be two of the hundreds to lose their scholarships if the department of justice wins its case.

“If we got to go to the capitol, let’s do it. If we've got to go to dc, let’s do it. We need to put our kids first and we need to make a stand. At what point are we going to say, we'll go to the extremes to help our kids, to further them," questioned Crain-Dillon.

While supporters haven't said who will fight the battle in court, advocates have promised to fight challenges to the program till the very end.

"Well at first it was dread, but then I said, we'll beat it, we're going to overcome it," shared Crain-Dillon.

“Do we give up? You tell me? Do you want us to give up? You tell me.
Because none of us are sacred," stated Ann Duplessis of the Louisiana Federation for Children.

The suit filed by the Department of Justice claims that children leaving public schools upsets the racial balance created by desegregation rulings decades ago. Voucher advocates pointed out that 91% of the students using the voucher program are children of color.

Governor Bobby Jindal also renewed his vow to fight the federal government on this suit.

“We are going to fight with everything we got. We fought hard to put this program in place. And we are going to fight very hard against the Justice Department and show them that they don’t know what is best for our kids,” stated Jindal in a prepared statement Tuesday.
 

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