An organization representing Louisiana parents shouldn't be allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the state's school voucher program, the Department of Justice said in a response to a motion requesting legal intervention. The Louisiana chapter of the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities, a group of parents who seek to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged students, filed a motion to intervene in the DOJ's lawsuit against Louisiana's school voucher program, which the Obama administration says violates a Carter-era desegregation court order.
The DOJ response says the organization's application does not satisfy criteria for a right to intervene and does not meet the burden for permissive intervention. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has responded in a statement.
"The Obama Administration wants to deny a voice to the very people who will be harmed by this ridiculous lawsuit. In an offensively worded motion, the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to muzzle parents who simply want to express an opinion about why their children should have the opportunity to escape failing schools," said Jindal in a statement.
“The Obama Administration outrageously argues that parents do not have a ‘right’ to express their opinion and says parents have a 'misunderstanding' about the federal government’s goal in this lawsuit. In other words, the Obama Administration is telling parents that the federal government knows what’s best for their children. This move is akin to when a Louisiana union official said poor parents have ‘no clue’ when it comes to choosing a school for their children. The Obama Administration believes in this same backwards ideology.
“It gets worse, the Obama Administration claims that interests of parents who are seeking scholarships for their children are ‘too remote to warrant intervention at this time.’ To claim that the interest of parents regarding such a vital education issue are ‘too remote’ for engagement is ridiculous. Our kids only have one chance to grow up and parents should not be denied an opportunity to speak up about what’s best for their children.
“The Obama Administration is attempting to tell parents to sit down and shut up. It’s never going to happen. Despite whatever evolving legal argument the Obama Administration comes up with, the voices of thousands of parents will not be silenced.”
Read more about the DOJ's lawsuit and Jindal's response here.