Vouching against educationTeachers’ union tries to block new La. voucher program designed to help low-income students
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Attorney sound bite: Jeremy Tedesco
“Parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children, and that’s exactly what Louisiana’s voucher program does,” said Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “It is highly inappropriate for a teachers’ union to threaten private schools participating in the program just because the union has filed a lawsuit that may not even succeed. The ultimate winners of this program are Louisiana families who want to provide the best education for their children, but teachers’ unions apparently care more about their own agendas than they do about that.”
In June, the Louisiana Association of Educators filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program and then decided to threaten schools participating in the program even before any court has ruled on the merits of the case. The LAE claims in its letter to the schools that the scholarship program is unconstitutional and that the union can recover voucher funds from schools using the program.
But as the Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains, the Louisiana Supreme Court will likely “find it inequitable to order your school to pay back voucher funds it used in good faith to educate low-income students.” The letter explains that state Supreme Court precedent affirms this to be the case no matter what the court concludes about the program’s constitutionality.
The letter states that “LAE’s bullying tactics are not only reprehensible, but also unlikely to succeed in a court of law.”
“We condemn the use of intimidation tactics to deprive low-income students attending failing public schools of the benefit of an outstanding, private education,” said Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorney in Shreveport who has advised some of the state’s largest private schools on the issue. “Reliable studies support the proposition that low-income students enrolled in voucher programs have a higher probability of academic success. We hope the information in our letter will strengthen the resolve of private schools to participate in the program in order to better serve low-income students.”
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.