The Washington Post’s editors have ripped the Obama administration for petitioning a federal court to bar Louisiana from awarding vouchers for the 2014-15 school year to students in public school systems that are under federal desegregation orders, unless the vouchers are first approved by a federal judge. John wrote about this disgraceful suit here.
The Post notes that “9 of 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools are black” and that “all are poor.” Accordingly “if not for the state assistance, [they] would be consigned to low-performing or failing schools with little chance of learning the skills they will need to succeed as adults.”
The Holder Justice Department defends its effort to consign poor, black students to failing schools by arguing that the departure of these students from the public school system would set back the cause of integration. But it’s counter-intuitive to worry that the departure of a cohort almost entirely made up of black students will leave predominantly black public schools insufficiently white. And it’s implausible to suppose that the departure of small groups of black students from predominantly white schools will set back the cause of integration.
Moreover, the facts don’t support these alleged fears. The Post writes:
Consider the analysis from University of Arkansas professor of education reform Jay P. Greene of a school that lost five white students through vouchers and saw a shift in racial composition from 29.6 percent white to 28.9 percent white. Another school that lost six black students and saw a change in racial composition from 30.1 percent black to 29.2 percent black.
“Though the students . . . almost certainly would not have noticed a difference, the racial bean counters at the DOJ see worsening segregation,” Mr. Greene wrote on his blog.
In short, the numbers relied on by the Obama administration are meaningless. But other numbers are not:
The number that should matter to federal officials is this: Roughly 86 percent of students in the voucher program came from schools that were rated D or F. [Louisiana State Education Superintendent] White called ironic using rules to fight racism to keep students in failing schools; we think it appalling.
John wrote that “in a sane world, [the Obama administration suit] would be a scandal.” The Washington Post editorial may not suit a scandal, but it does strike a minor blow for sanity.