Rather than seeing a state judge's ruling against Louisiana's
funding for school vouchers as a blow to education reformers, a
family policy observer sees this as a victory for them.
Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) points out that
Judge Tim Kelly only found the funding mechanism to be
unconstitutional -- not the program itself (see earlier story). Now, he says, the Jindal
administration can take two courses of action: Hope to win on
appeal, "or find that Kelly's ruling is upheld and simply just ...
find another pot of money to fund the program."
"We're only dealing with about $25 million in a $30 billion
budget -- that's very realistic for team Jindal to do," the LFF
Though it may initially look like the unions are the winners in
this ruling, Mills suggests that they may actually be the ones who
"The separation of child and state has proved to be very painful
for the teachers unions and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers,"
says Mills. "But if they move forward with this litigation, I think
what they're going to find is that's going to be far more painful,
because the state match, which would've been theirs under a very
generous Jindal formula, will now go away."
Judge Kelly did not issue an injunction to stop the voucher
program, and the family policy observer is confident that the
5,000 students using vouchers will not have to go back to their
failing public schools.
Analysts say better retention policies are needed to stop the
trend that's kicking nearly 50 percent of educators who begin
teaching careers out of the profession within five years.