Obama Administration Targets Private Schools

Obama Administration Targets Private Schools
August 28, 2013

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly, Issue #6

Several commentators have justly piled on the Obama administration’s craven legal challenge to a Louisiana voucher program that offers a way out of rotten schools for predominantly black, poor children. The U.S. Department of Justice’s charge? Vouchers may change, by minuscule percentages, the ratio of black to white children at some schools. Therefore, it’s better to keep all kids in failing schools. Cato’s Andrew Coulson wryly notes this effectively tells black parents their choices hurt black people.

Furthermore, as The Wall Street Journal writes, “The evidence from around the country is that vouchers enhance racial integration. Public school attendance is mainly determined by geography, so segregated neighborhoods produce segregated schools.”

There’s more at work here, however. The Obama administration’s Louisiana lawsuit is part of a habit of seeking to control states and private institutions. This spring, for example, the DOJ also demanded that Wisconsin impose more regulations on and inspections of private voucher schools, alleging this was necessary to alleviate discrimination against special-needs students although literally no evidence of this exists. And, of course, although no federal budget has existed since the president took office, each time it surfaces he attempts to use it to cancel vouchers for more poor, predominantly black students in Washington, DC.

Consider also the effects of the president’s signature initiative, Obamacare, on private schools, which are largely religious. They’re worried. Depending on how legal challenges play out, the health care law may force religious schools to hire employees whose morality conflicts with their mission, and to pay for medical procedures that violate their First Amendment freedom of conscience. Imagine a Catholic school being forced to hire a Buddhist religion teacher, or a Mormon school being forced to pay for abortions.

It is increasingly clear that, voucher regulations or no voucher regulations, private schools offer no safe place to tuck children as long as the federal government persists in overstepping the bounds of law and rationality to impose autocrats’ wills on everyone.

SOURCES: JayPGreene.com, School Reform News, Wall Street Journal


School Choice Roundup

Common Core Watch

  • PUBLIC OPINION: A new poll finds 62 percent of the public have never heard of the new national education standards and tests. This is more awareness than the approximately 80 percent who had never heard of the initiative last year.

Education Today

  • DISCIPLINE: Are schools hostile to boys? Christina Hoff Sommers says school discipline policies and political correctness are crippling a generation of young fellows.
  • PRESCHOOL: The way most states rate government preschool programs does not actually consider whether students learn anything, a study finds. Most Americans believe media reports that preschool is necessary, but government preschool programs still struggle to provide solid evidence of long-term beneficial effects.

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Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)