While teachers unions across the country routinely may challenge school voucher programs in court, the teachers union in Louisiana, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) has developed a new tactic – bully the schools that accept the vouchers.
The American Federation for Children – the nation’s voice for school choice which is dedicated to empowering families with the ability to take charge of K-12 education choices for their children – today condemned the actions of the LAE.
In a prepared statement, the federation alleges the LAE is bullying small, private schools.
The Louisiana Board of Education shares the federation’s disgust and urges the bullied schools to “ignore the LAE’s absurd actions.”
Private schools in Louisiana received letters this week from Brian Blackwell of the Blackwell & Associates law firm, which represents the state teachers union.
The letter threatened lawsuits for participating in the school choice program signed into Louisiana law this spring.
That law, part of a comprehensive education improvement project called Louisiana Believes, allows low-income parents the chance to pull their kids out of schools that are rated “C,” “D” or “F” and send them via vouchers to schools maintaining an “A” or “B” rating.
The threatening letter sent to private schools across the state gives each school until this weekend to opt out of accepting funding for low income students, or be sued by the teachers union.
“The LAE union threatens to initiate litigation against individual schools if they do not pledge – in writing … to cease participation in the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence (SSEE) program,” says the American Federation for Children.
“The letter comes despite a judge’s ruling two weeks ago that dismissed a union attempt to get an injunction stopping the program,” officials said.
The LAE union issued a statement saying that the organization had an attorney send the letter to voucher schools asking them to hold off on using money until the legal challenge is complete.
In a press release LAE President Joyce Haynes said that the letter was in no way an attempt at intimidation.
The LAE statement says, “The letter was our way of ensuring that Louisiana students don’t have to pay for the unconstitutional maneuvers made by Gov. Jindal and Superintendent White.”
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