by Dan Way
North Carolina advocates of school choice may find events in Louisiana of interest.
Three times in two months courts in the Pelican State have ruled against the Louisiana Association of Educators in the state teacher union’s attempt to get an injunction to prevent a school voucher plan from being implemented. It is significant that the voucher system was passed with bipartisan support. The most recent victory for parents came last Wednesday when the state Supreme Court rebuffed the teachers union.
Now parents with children in failing schools in Orleans Parish have expanded educational opportunities, and their desire for education reform was evident. More than 10,300 of the most disadvantaged families applied for the 5,600 seats being made available through the voucher program. The teachers union resorted to intimidation, threatening to sue school districts that participated in the plan. But so far no schools have backed out, and the Alliance for School Choice has set up a legal defense fund for any schools that face litigation.
The union campaign against delivering educational freedom to parents took an ugly turn recently with a blog post that trashed parents. One wonders how the teachers expect to garner the support of tax-paying parents when accusing them of raping and starving their children. Below is a news release put out today by the American Federation for Children in response to the blog:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 20, 2012)—The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for school choice—today condemned a recent blog post published last week by Diane Ravitch, an outspoken opponent of education reform, after the post featured comments she attributed to an anonymous Louisiana teacher that referred to some parents as abusers and rapists while questioning the ability of all parents to choose the best educational environments for their children.
In response to the post, the Federation has launched the next phase of a campaign titled “Parents Know Best,” which, in the midst of a wave of recent denigrating comments about parents, aims to empower them in the fight to give their children the best educational opportunities.
Ravich’s post, titled “Do Parents Always Know What’s Best?” boasts comments from a “Louisiana teacher” who notes that parents “rarely understand how schools work” and says that “parents also starve, beat, tie up, and rape their children.” The denigrating comments come on the heels of a series of actions from special interests groups attempting to prevent parents from exercising their right to choose the best school for their children.
Most prominent among them is a move last month by the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) teachers union, which sent letters to schools participating in the state’s expanded voucher program threatening to sue them if they did not drop out of the program.
Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the Federation, denounced the blog post and urged parents all over the country to stand up and continue the fight to expand quality educational options for their kids.
“Once again we’re seeing defenders of the status quo in action, this time using incendiary language to make the case that parents are not capable of making sound decisions when it comes to their kids’ education,” Chavous said. “Parent advocates are growing tired of arrogant lectures from status quo defenders like Diane Ravitch that insult their intelligence. These comments are an affront to millions of parents across the country who are fortunate to have the opportunity—the choice—to make informed and thoughtful decisions about what works best for their child. It’s simply outrageous to suggest that these parents shouldn’t have this choice.”
The comments on Ravitch’s blog are only the latest in a string of rhetorical attacks aimed at parents. The Federation earlier this year released a startling video that documents a series of comments from union leaders from across the country dismissing parents’ ability to make the best choices for their children.
Supporters of parental choice are encouraged to visit www.ParentsKnowBest.com in order to fight back against attacks from special interest groups and stand strong in favor of expanded educational options.
Read this release online here: http://federationforchildren.org/articles/722