Here’s some excellent news from Louisiana, where a state judge has ruled that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s outrageous school voucher program giving state funding to private religious schools that teach creationism and climate change denial is unconstitutional. Damn right.
One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature accomplishments, a private school tuition voucher program, was ruled unconstitutional by a Louisiana judge Friday, the Associated Press reports:
State Judge Tim Kelley said Friday that the program improperly diverts money allocated through Louisiana’s public school funding formula to private schools. He also said it unconstitutionally diverts local tax dollars to private schools.
Kelley ruled in a lawsuit backed by teacher unions and school boards seeking to shut down the voucher program and other changes that would funnel more money away from traditional public schools.
Jindal (R-La.), who is frequently touted as a potential contender in the 2016 Republican presidential race, pushed the legislation through the state’s legislature in April. Two statewide teachers’ associations and a group of school boards filed legal challenges shortly thereafter.
Jindal said in a statement Friday afternoon that he would appeal the ruling.
In addition to the lawsuits, the program was criticized for letting students attend religious schools that teach Young Earth Creationism — the belief that the universe is no older than 10,000 years.
Jindal’s response to this setback for his religious fundamentalist agenda:
‘Today’s ruling is wrong-headed and a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education,’ Jindal said. ‘This ruling changes nothing for the students currently in the program. All along, we expected this to be decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court.’
Make no mistake — the underlying cause behind Gov. Jindal’s voucher program is to erase the boundary between church and state, especially (but not limited to) the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. He may be trying to position himself as a “moderate Republican” lately, but Jindal has been more successful than any other Republican politician at blurring the lines and legitimizing the long range anti-science educational agenda of the religious right.