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White: DoJ should "end this ridiculous idea" of judges approving vouchers

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Gov. Jindal wants the federal government to stay out of Louisiana schools. Gov. Jindal wants the federal government to stay out of Louisiana schools.
SHREVEPORT, La. -

Louisiana's school voucher program gets national attention as the US Department of Justice brings a case against the state. The Justice Department filed a motion in federal court in August saying vouchers should not be issued to districts with desegregation orders unless approved by a federal judge.

The vouchers allow parents to move their children from failing schools to the school of their choice, and the DOJ worries that could re-segregate some schools.

Late last week, Governor Bobby Jindal released a television ad that airs across the state criticizing the lawsuit.

"The federal government in Washington is out of control. Now they want to run our schools. The know-it-alls in Washington think they know better than Louisiana parents," said Jindal in the ad. He tells Louisiana residents he fights to keep the federal government out of the schools.

The federal government says the state has refused to hand over information about the students involved in the voucher program.

"The Department of Justice says it asked us for data in May, as to which students were in the program in October," said John White, state superintendent. "Of course we couldn't provide them the information then, the students had not started the school year yet. Now that the school year has started, we'll give them the information that we've always said we would."

White was in Shreveport Tuesday, talking with parents of the students in the voucher program at St. Joseph School. He said the real problem lies with what the Justice Department's motion requires parents in districts with desegregation orders to do.

"They need to end this ridiculous idea that Louisiana parents should have to go in front of a federal judge anytime they want to choose a school of their choice," he said.

Red River Union president Jackie Lansdale said Jindal and White do not understand the desegregation orders.

"Bobby Jindal and John White are young, and they don't remember what we remember going through the 50s and the 60s and what a tumultuous time that was," said Lansdale. "The fact that we had to right a wrong. And they are trying to create obstacles for what continues to address what happen. This is not 1950."

The Justice Department says the state releasing the requested information is a "breakthrough", but Governor Jindal says no resolution has been reached. He called the announcement a "PR stunt."

Information from an Associate Press article was used in the story.

WATCH GOV. JINDAL'S AD

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