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Thank Bobby For Poisoning the Education Reform Well For Romney

Bobby Jindal’s batshit-crazy Education agenda already passed the legislature and has been signed into law. Many”reasonable” Louisiana legislators, including some decent Democrats, voted for this monstrosity because…well because they’re just cowardly morons. Too afraid to face off with the Governor, or to lose some “plum” assignment, or to violate some unholy deal. Instead of working for the people, they work for themselves. Again and again.

One silver lining about this atrocious waste of public funds and the total trashing of the future of Louisiana is that the horrible outcomes that this bill will produce, in addition to those it already has, will likely destroy the standing of Republican Education policy for the next decade nationwide.

Thank you, Bobby, for making our state and our children an example of exactly what NOT to do. 

Without further ado, the Guardian:

Romney’s proposal for private-school vouchers is red meat for the rightwing base of the Republican party, especially evangelicals. Vouchers have been the third rail of education politics since Milton Friedman proposed them in 1955; they have been put before the voters in several state referenda and have been consistently rejected. As a general rule, the public does not want public money to support religious schools. And many religious schools are wary about accepting public money and the regulations that eventually are tied to it. But in the past few years, vouchers have been revived by state legislatures in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Louisiana without resorting to a popular vote.

The results are already troubling. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal’s education reform legislation was enacted in mid April, the new law declares that students in low-performing schools are eligible to take their share of state funding to any accredited private or religious school. About 400,000 students (more than half the students in the state) are eligible, but only some 5,000 places are available in the state’s private and parochial schools. When the state posted the list of participating schools, the one that registered to accept the largest number of voucher students was the New Living Word School, which offered to enroll 315 of them. But its current enrollment is 122, and it has no facilities or teachers for the new students, though it promises to erect a new building in time for the beginning of the school year this fall. Most of its instruction is delivered on DVDs.

Another school, the Eternity Christian Academy, which currently has 14 students, has agreed to take in 135 voucher students. According to a recent Reuters article:

“[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.”

The pastor-turned-principal explained:

“We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children.”

Some of the other schools that have been approved to receive state-funded vouchers “use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution”.

The Reuters reporter described the Louisiana law as “the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children”. Next year, all students in Louisiana will qualify for a voucher to take courses from private vendors or corporations offering courses or training. Expect a boom in new education businesses in Louisiana.

What Governor Jindal is doing sounds like a template for the Romney plan. With no increase in funding, all the money for vouchers and private vendors and online charters will be deducted from the state’s public education budget. Governor Jindal and Mitt Romney should explain how American education will be improved if taxpayer dollars are used to send more students to sectarian schools and to take their courses from profit-making businesses and online schools.

We’ll leave the snark to the Wonkette:

did you know about Mitt Romney’s plan to destroy public education, which he revealed a couple weeks ago in a White Paper that no one paid much attention to? This is an actual White Paper, by the way, not an offhand comment like the one he made about how much he likes firing people who provide teaching to you. You will be shocked, just shocked, to learn that the “ideas” in this 35-page-long White Paper are about the same as the ones that John Sununu said on TeeVee, and can be succinctly summarized as follows.

  1. Privatize K-12 education to give people Choices and whatnot.
  2. Loosen regulations on for-profit college education to stimulate Competition and the subsequent lowering of prices.
  3. Destroy Teachers’ Unions because they are Communist, basically.

To be fair, there’s stuff in there about how no one actually needs to go to school (Higher education will flourish when “innovation and skill attainment” matter more than “time in classroom” and “Eligible students remaining in public schools will also have the option to use federal funds to purchase supplemental tutoring or digital courses from state-approved private providers rather than receiving Title I services from their district.”) Also, tax payers will give money to private corporations instead of public institutions (“charter school programs [must be able to] expand to meet demand, receive funding under the same formula that applies to all other publicly-supported schools, and access capital funds.”) And no Romney campaign materials would be complete without a bunch of flagrant lies! (“after three months,” he says, “students [in the DC voucher program] could already read at levels 19 months ahead of their public-school peers,” which, as the Guardian points out, is not true.) But basically, it boils down to destroying unions and free public education, which means that if Romneybot has his way, we will all be living in Louisiana and it’s going to be AWESOME.

Read the entire Romney “Education” White Paper here. AND YES IT IS INSANE. Brace yourselves.

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