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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Louisiana Voucher Fiasco and the Romney/Jindal Nexus

A subject I’ve been writing about at Washington Monthly that hasn’t gotten the national attention it deserves is in the area of education policy, where Mitt Romney’s little-noticed proposal to convert all federal K-12 education money into vouchers is getting a test run down in Louisiana, where his close ally and short-list running-mate prospect Gov. Bobby Jindal is turning over large sums of public money to private, largely religious schools with next to no accountability for educational standards or outcomes. As I noted in one post:

[The Louisiana program is using state funds to prop up marginal church-based schools with zero vetting of their curriculum, facilities, instructional credentials or standards. “The market,” or, I suppose, the Good Lord will sort them out eventually.

A separate piece on the Louisiana program by Alternet’s Bruce Wilson (published at Salon) notes that a number of beneficiary schools use textbooks that explicitly preach anti-evolution and anti-gay nostrums as science, along with revisionist history and political preferences.

Is this where Mitt Romney wants to push American education? And if he suggests (in the unlikely event he has to clarify his proposal anytime soon) schools will be vetted for quality or competence, how long will it be before that idea collides with the belief of Romney’s evangelical and conservative-Catholic allies that any regulation of religious bodies for use of public dollars is an assault on “religious freedom?”

Note this latest post for an update, where Jindal’s staff is scrambling to “vet” schools already receiving vouchers after bad publicity about what sure looks like a blatant effort to reward Republican religious constituencies with taxpayers’ dollars.

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