While the country’s been focusing on the Presidential election and the euro crisis, Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Republicans are about to execute their plan to privatize the state’s public schools in a massive voucher mess that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. The real crime is that the “schools” that will profit tremendously from this little voucher scheme writ large are…surprise!…religious-based:
Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.
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.
Other schools approved for 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.
And Louisiana tax dollars are going to this. It’s insanity…and yet, Republicans now dominate the state. This is the “future” of American education that will make us “competitive” in math and science with Europe and Asia. Awesome.
Meanwhile, the students left in Louisiana public schools lose more and more funding for every student that takes advantage of this “more efficient approach to education”, necessitating more vouchers as students and parents flee a doomed system that eventually goes under a critical mass point and collapses. Lotteries determine who gets into the posh schools, and who gets into the windowless cubicles with the textbooks where evolution doesn’t exist. It’s a grift that would make the best cons grin from ear to ear and everyone’s lining up to open a school to get in on the action.
Everything about this is a complete disaster waiting to happen that will almost certainly collapse the state’s schools where major private charter outfits will have to step in and “save” the state of education in Louisiana. And the GOP will gladly hand that control over to for-profit outfits.
Which of course is the point. The rich get the goods, the rubes get fleeced, and the poor get screwed. Nothing’s more American than that, folks. There’s plenty of damage unlimited GOP control at the state level can accomplish, as Louisiana is about to find out.
I guar-ron-tee it’s working as intended.
Maybe this leads to an influx of highway workers to repave their terrible, terrible roads. All part of the grand plan (aka “Project Ditchdigger”)
“We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children,”
Also too, no teacher’s unions! It hardly takes an actual teacher to hit the “on” button on a DVD player.
So from a broader perspective what the Republicans are accomplishing in the South is turning the entire region into a low-wage Utopia of undereducated workers and tax-avoiding, ulta-corrupt elites, because you know, that strategy has worked so well in the Eurozone. Asshats.
Now, back to consideration of home schooling.
The people of Louisiana chose their elected officials with both eyes open. It must be assumed that they want this. If they change their minds, they can choose new elected officials.
For better or worse, that’s how representative democracy works.
Wait until the first Louisiana high school graduate tries to attend an out-of-state school and the university won’t recognize the diploma because of no accreditation. Then Piyush will have a shit storm on his hands. Not that he will care, he’ll be long gone on wingnut welfare by then.
Their comments section is entertaining in a sick, sad kind of way. One guy really nailed it, though: look for the reduction in the value of the vouchers in the near future. Then parents will need to borrow to send their kid to a “good” school, and it spirals out of control. LA schools are terrible, but that’s more a function of the whole state and its people than public school failure and the teacher’s union. Just pathetic.
Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are moving the same way. In Philly, the school district is preparing to hand over whole ‘portfolios’ of schools to various suitors.
In one sense, it’s an admission that they state controlled School Reform Commission has failed in its 10+ year mission to ‘save’ our schools.
Rather than taking their ball and going home, the SRC is in essence saying, ‘We suck at ball, here you try. PS We still control the purse strings, though, and can throw you out at any time.”
The SRC is ready to abdicate its mandate to educate, and hand the responsibility to largely unproven or proven mediocre private entities.
BTW, many centrist, Third Way, Blue Dog, ‘Rendell Dems’ are complicit in this destruction of American Public Education.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
I think if you listen very carefully you can hear the bullet ridden ghost of Huey Long saying “told you so that they were the real rascals”
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Having spent considerable amount of time down there, it really is the closest thing we have to a foreign country here in the US.
They can secede and take a few of the surrounding states with them.
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.
Sign me up!
@Yutsano: Not only that, most of these students won’t be able to score high enough on any of the college entrance exams to be accepted anyway. Except of course to schools like Oral Roberts and Liberty.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
The god botherers have that covered two with religious collages like Liberty. The problem really hits when they try to apply for a job at 25. By then all these clowns will have moved on.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
In other words, it’s a classic Louisiana operation.
The long-run goal is to create an illiterate underclass to provide cheaper labor, fulfilling part of conservatives’ fantasy of returning to a 19th century Dickensian paradise.
This is awesome news. See, once the rubes get a taste for how bad it is, they will vote for a real progressive government. That is why we must oppose Obama and let the GOP win nationally, because without this trauma we will continue to run along in our present corporatist nightmare. No pain, no gain. Buy pitchfork futures. /snark off
Proposals like this have been pushed in other states, all with one seeming goal of destroying public education. There will be some big winners such as Catholic schools and some decent private schools but it is basically an attempt to create low cost loser schools for the losers with a profit motive.
I almost think that some place should implement such a scheme to finally disprove such libertarian theories of education – but it will hardest hit those without the ability to move out of state to avoid the crazy.
The Thin Black Duke
@Fwiffo: Problem is, what jobs are gonna be available if people ain’t got no money to buy anything?
@burnspbesq: Unfortunately, you are right. The people usually get the government services they deserve.
But how many students, who did not and could not vote to gut public education, have to suffer from the stupidity and greed of the older generations? After the grifters leave the scene and fleece another state, the underserved kids who watched tv for classwork and were never exposed to high-falutin’ concepts like evolution are going to have to compete with kids in states and countries that maintained high educational standards.
At what point does the societal need for an educated populace trump state/local sovereignty?
Another Halocene Human
The bible dvds school sounds like the old Prussian theory of education. Sit still, bleibt still, bleibt ruhig, RUHE!! and beat the kids if they so much as utter a peep or (literally) step out of line.
Check out the movie “Girls in Uniform.” It’s more than just a talkie about forbidden love with a racy title.
Bobby Jindal decided our public schools were wrecked. Instead of fixing them, he’s selling them for parts.
These are what, exactly?
Instead of fixing them, he’s selling them for parts.
awful lotexactly like mittens “career”
The same ones McGarggle uses
Imagine if the government said, “We’re going to divert money away from maintaining the highway system, and use that money to give people coupons to fly wherever they need to go instead.” The obvious result: highways and bridges would fall into ruin and people who don’t have an airport nearby would be screwed. This is no different from the voucher system, which undermines the public school system and doesn’t guarantee alternatives beyond a motley assortment of religious schools and a tiny handful of expensive private schools.
@Ruckus: Even worse, most likely. That algebra is a tad on the Muslim side, and calculus was invented by a bunch of Euroweenies. They’ll still use zeros though, just because they’re probably too lazy to develop lessons using Roman numerals.
Any kid who goes to a school like that is doomed. Even the places like Liberty U will have enough applicants with a non-joke education to beat them out for spots. Only thing they’ll be able to do is attend a technical school (which isn’t a bad thing, per se) or go into massive debt for an online diploma mill.
By law, the value of each voucher can’t exceed the sum the state would spend educating that child in public school — on average, $8,800 a year. Small private schools often charge as little as $3,000 to $5,000 a year.
Yet at some private schools with low tuition, administrators contacted by Reuters said they would also ask the state to cover additional, unspecified fees, which would bring the cost to taxpayers close to the $8,800 cap. The law requires the state to cover both tuition and fees.
Yes, this has tremendous potential for savings and efficiency. Not.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Pass it and in four more years I’ll simply put anyone who has gone to a Louisiana public school on my “do not hire” list.
They can join the proud graduates of private religious colleges (Regenery, Liberty U.) that already are instant DQ’s for getting hired at my company.
Job creation for non-Louisianans. I feel bad for them but they keep putting these people into office. Keeps my HR office’s workload down a bit, I suppose.
A lot of the books are “Biblical” in that many of the word problems also teach parts of the Bible – e.g. “If Jesus had 2 loaves …”
More generally they hate abstractions such as set theory and some even want Biblical justification for any of the concepts taught.
Since mathematics comes from God some consider it blasphemous to create foundations such as axiomatic set theory to explain mathematics.
@BGK: Convert all units to cubits and money to talents.
The really sad thing about this is the effect it will have on kids with special needs. Private schools don’t want ’em; you have to build accesses and actually hire teachers trained in educating those with disabilities. Even the Bible Camp schools are going to take a pass.
And as the public schools lose funding, the kids with special needs will almost certainly be first in the austerity line.
A “school” with no library. Ugh, that’s one of the most depressing articles I’ve read in a long time.
I miss the days when conservatives didn’t care much about education. Between vouchers and NCLB, they’re hell-bent on destroying public education in this country. I don’t know why anyone would want to create a nation of bigoted morons, but I guess they’re easier to fleece.
Forget 1984. Forget the Handmaiden’s Tale. They dystopia they’re after is Warhammer 40k. How and why are questions that are never asked because everything happens due to the will of the God-Emperor/Omnissiah.
Ella in New Mexico
Call me crazy but what business with any major clout will choose to relocate to–or remain in–a state that’s one up from Mexico in terms of quality of life? You couldn’t pay me double to work in Louisiana, or most of the other southern states at this point in history.
I really think these “right wing wet dream”kinds of actions we’re seeing are going to backfire economically in these states–people will take their money and investment elsewhere.
I think it’s wonderful. People should have to live with the consequences of their decisions. Particularly those that decide not to decide. That’s what democracy is all about.
The kid who has to learn about the Paleolithic Period by watching a DVD of The Flintstones is not living with the consequences of any decision he or she made.
Child abuse is not democratic.
Ella in New Mexico
And yet, I promise you, if that’s the education he’s going to be enrolled in under this law, it’s a 99.9% chance that this garbage is what his ignoramous parents would have wanted him to be taught in the first place.
Being a stupid parent making uneducated, knuckle dragging decisions about how to raise your kid isn’t child abuse, unfortunately. In order to allow me to do the right stuff with my kids, we have to allow these morans to do what they want.
Have you heard the latest from Ice Cubit, “It’s All About the Talents and the Tramps?”
So they believe God created the universe, but nobody should be allowed to use their God-given intelligence to comprehend it? Right…
@Ella in New Mexico:
Extraction industries (oil and gas most notable)
Companies where 90% of the work is Taylorized
and great restaurants
Well, at least none of these kids will waste their time studying volcano monitoring. Whew. That’s a relief.
Faith based policy. I don’t mean religious, I mean based on faith the private sector is better than the public sector. From the Reuter’s article:
So much of the drive to do this sort of thing is based purely on a handful of words Reagan said, during his first inaugural address about “government isn’t the solution, government is the problem”, without stopping to evaluate any data or having any data available before jumping in blindly with both feet.
I guess I become a grizzled old cynic everyday. I say let it happen and watch it fail like the charter experiment in many states.
If we as a country value education so much why is it such a problem to invest more into educating our most at risk kids? Smaller class sizes do work. One on one approaches do work. Nooooo….
Funny, one of the commenters at the bottom of the article whine about European-S****lism yet they seem to teach their diverse populations more than we supposedly do.
As usual, nobody ever asks where the parents are when it comes to their kid’s educations.
BGK Says: Bible-based math books
These are what, exactly?
Deeply disturbing, ain’t it? Well, since everything in the Bible is absolutely true, that casual reference that implies that pi = 3 isn’t just an estimate. It’s the truth. Also, no relativity, even though your GPS wouldn’t work without it, because relativity is, well, relative. Arithmetic is OK, though. And maybe a little plane geometry.
@MonkeyBoy: I have a Christian friend who was a math major in college. He thinks that the beauty and perfection of things like set theory is just more divine handiwork, and that God allowed people to evolve intelligent, God-like brains so that we could figure this stuff out. But he’s not a normal sort of American Christian, unfortunately.
Politifact says that pi = 3 is mostly true.
The Downfall of American Civilization is the shittiest show I’ve ever watched.
Oh, wait, it’s real life. Fuck.
@The Populist: I’ve also been big on the idea that at some point we need to say to at risk kids, you are good at this so why don’t we prep you for a job in Nursing, doctor’s asst, construction, etc. This way you tailor the educational experience and prep these kids for employment earlier. They can still go to Community college if they choose but maybe let them focus on a set career path while the advanced kids learn the college prep stuff that will allow them to excel.
We need to embrace a reality where we can teach those who don’t have aspirations beyond a 9-5 job that they can be prepared for that while we do a better job focusing on the kids that go on to become scientists, teachers, business leaders, politicos, etc.
I just feel it is giving a 10th grader a choice. If construction is something you want to learn now, we will teach you give you the tools and prepare you. You still have to have a basic grasp of math and english but we focus them on what will allow them to be successful in life as well as that skillset.
We can also have classes that teach financial responsibility and other types of important things that allow them to have a chance in life.
If the right wants to whine about bootstraps, let’s adapt and give each student different chances to have strong, sustainable bootstraps in which to pull themselves up by.
Under our current Constitutional system, never. Sucks, but there it is. If you want to work toward a new Constitutional Convention, call or email Sandy Levinson at UT Law.
Be careful what you wish for. The odds of keeping the Bill of Rights in that scenario seem to me to be approximately zero.
Well, there’s a buried story. Who are the fraudsters and scam artists making and selling these DVDs? It’s like there’s already an infrastructure in place to perpetuate ignorance for profit.
@Ella in New Mexico:
As long as there are exploitable oil and gas reserves on the Continental Shelf off the coast of Louisiana, the answer to that question seems fairly obvious.
Well, I don’t have to imagine the government saying “We’re going to divert money away from maintaining the highway system” and watching the I-35 bridge collapse into the Mississippi. It was horrible. And we’ve not learned damn near anything since then.
@Carolus: Yes. It’s only only been since the late 1970s that we’ve recognized as a nation that children with disabilities have a civil right to a free and appropriate public education.
At best, the movement to dismantle as much of the public school system as possible will leave special needs kids in the tattered remains of separate, not equal, special needs public schools. At worst, they’ll all be back home again while their typically-developing peers prep for endless tests in front of computers for six hours a day.
Don’t know why this is not a rallying cry in the disability community, but it isn’t.
Not if they made their decision after watching Fox. They probably have no idea how damaging this shit will be, and decades from now will still be blaming Obama.
@gene108: I have a hard time believing that the perpetrators of this BS *actually* believe the private sector will do a better job of educating the kids. I think it’s more that they see a chance to kill two birds with one stone: steer more money away from the public sector, while also creating an educational production line that churns out ignorant, indoctrinated-with-stupidity citizens — just the type of people who will grow up to vote Republican.
So, I see a Balloon Juice School of Excellence being formed to get in on some of that sweet, sweet voucher money. Why should only right wingers be entitled to grift?
I also would like to see schools getting vouchers who teach Koran-based math, history based on “A People’s History of the United States”, a Richard Dawkins School of Evolution, etc., etc.
I mean, if the state is going to hand over hundreds of millions to grifters, why can’t a hundred mil or so go to the left?
And it should be. I write from the viewpoint of a parent of a seriously mentally and physically disabled son, who is now 29; he had wonderful teachers, aides & school systems that believed that he needed & deserved education at his level. Not because he was an undiscovered Stephen Hawking or anything, because he was never going to be able to hold a job, but to enhance his own life. And it did.
My sister has a sister-in-law who is now 53, who is mildly to moderately mentally retarded, physically fine. In her childhood, there was no special ed for her. She has lived her whole life with her parents; now just her mom, who always believed that because of her mental disability, she couldn’t be taught anything. She lives a life of TV & food, terribly overweight, nothing to do or be. And she was very capable of having some type of job or training. She is very demanding & difficult to be around now, a wasted life. That is what this type of “educational reform” will lead to.
@RSR: Yup. Philly’s inner ring suburbs are about to get it in the neck now, too. My alma mater (Upper Darby High School, birth place of Tina Fey) is essentially cutting the arts from the primary schools. Entirely. It’ll kill what’s left of the district… outside of our shiny track & field complex and weight room!
If this is the way education is going in this country, then I think it’s time for liberals to take this particular ball and run with it. We can set up our own school system with a rigorous, fact-based, science-based, comprehensive curriculum. Dipshits, Bible bangers and people who hate the ‘homosexual agenda’, sex education and evolution need not apply. They can go to their own “schools” with no libraries and Creation-based education and be as stupid as they want. If they want their kids to go to the liberal school where you actually learn something, then they have to pass an entrance exam *and* agree not to challenge the curriculum. People who don’t agree don’t get in.
You’ve pretty much described GOP utopia – currently best represented by CHINA. State apparatus completely controlled by an elite, nigh-unrestrained free markets for everything EXCEPT political disagreement, brutal repression of dissidents: truly, the Ayn Rand Promised Land.
@Groucho48: I would teach at any of these schools.
Well, maybe not Koran-math, because I kind of suck at math beyond the basics needed to keep a checkbook and do crafts and home improvements, and I refuse to wear a burqa.
@themann1086: Yep, our priorities are seriously broken. Had dinner with the parental and some ex-teacher friends in Prague a couple months ago. The restaurant we were in had a waitress who could speak German, Spanish, English, and (obviously) Czech, not to mention any other languages that we didn’t hear her speak. In the meantime, the conversation at our table was how the school system in Iowa City (which is relatively wealthy and liberal) was cutting 7th and 8th grade language instruction (and they only had one or two languages available) but was dropping six figures to redo the parking lot at the school.
It was pathetic.
Another Halocene Human
@steve: Um, isn’t that exactly what the government did to our passenger rail network, starting in the 1950’s? And look at it now.
But, you know, wasting fossil fuels is the American way.
Another Halocene Human
@Ella in New Mexico:
That works out good because they’re lining up to pay you half.
@RalfW: Yep. I pay property taxes to fund public education. I pay state taxes to provide vouchers that pay people to avoid the public education system. Meanwhile, the private schools retain the ability to reject any student they want, voucher or no. They will be the new underclass that assembles i-pads in Shreveport rather than China, saving a ton on shipping, not to mention suicide prevention nets between buildings. Fucked doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Dept of Irony
Do NOT read the comments at Reuters. They will create Abandon All Hope levels of despair: page after page of “Go Bobby! Tell those Teacher’s Unions to Suck It!” and suchlike insanity. No logic, no thought, just all BS free marketeerism and boosterism. It is as though the Kochs hired a bunch of rubes to clog up the comments at Reuters.
I fear for our country.
And I like the idea of Liberal Voucher Schools. Sign me up. ‘Dipshits and Bible Bangers Need Not Apply.”
Who really cares? They voted for this step back into the stone age. Fuck ’em.
Only by people who have had the sort of education that Louisiana is offering …
A genuinely right wing sentiment.