Legal Nonprofit to Fight Federal Grab at Louisiana Vouchers

Published December 10, 2013

The Goldwater Institute has appealed a court ruling that would let the federal government regulate a Louisiana scholarship program that allows low-income students to attend private schools if their local public schools are failing.

“The Justice Department continues to threaten educational opportunities for children who need them desperately,” Clint Bolick, the institute’s vice president, said in a statement. The nonprofit organization often litigates on behalf of vouchers.

The U.S. Justice Department in August filed a motion in a decades-old court case to stop Louisiana’s program because it allegedly impedes desegregation.

The drama unfolded over the next few months: Goldwater filed to intervene on behalf of affected parents and families, but its intervention was blocked, and the institute filed as a “friend of the court” instead.

Two studies show the school voucher program, which serves more than 90 percent minority students, does not increase segregation.

In November the judge ruled the federal department could oversee the program, but not the kind of oversight it had requested. Louisiana and federal representatives plan to meet in January to agree on federal involvement.

Image by Hossam el-Hamalawy.