Back-to-Back Anti-Choice Lawsuits Make Me Want to Scream and Pull Out My Hair

I don’t have a lot to write about on this manic Monday. But after venturing over to Jay Greene’s blog and finding not one, but two, closely related news stories that make me want to pull my hair out. Well, how could I not share the experience with you? Irony reigns, the world is spinning out of control, and vulnerable kids bear the brunt of it all.

The first story, which takes us back to last week’s developments in Alabama’s new scholarship tax credit program, makes me want to scream in frustration:

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit Monday contending that low-income students attending failing public schools are being hurt by a new state law that provides tax credits to families that transfer their children to private schools.

Are you kidding me? Of course not. As Jay Greene blogger Jason Bedrick notes:

In short, SPLC argues that if the law can’t rescue every child from a failing school, then it shouldn’t be allowed to rescue any child. Not only would this line of reasoning hobble almost every government effort to incrementally address any problem, but the argument also rests on a misunderstanding of the status quo and the law’s likely impact.

What does he mean? Of 23 high-quality peer-reviewed studies, 22 (that’s over 95 percent) find educational choice programs have a positive effect on public school students as well as those exercising the option to attend a private school. The power of choice and competition — ignored in the quest to help needy students by trying stop a policy that helps needy students. Best of all, Bedrick takes the fun approach of comparing the case to small marine life trapped on beaches.

But as if that story weren’t enough, this week the federal government itself is filing a lawsuit against a different southern state to halt a private school choice program. The U.S. Department of Justice’s legal action claims the Louisiana Scholarship Program is increasing racial segregation.

That certainly would be news to the Black Alliance for Educational Options, which is defending the program. Breaking down the Feds’ allegations, Bedrick finds them wanting. The Cato Institute analyst also observes that 7 out of 8 studies find school choice actually decreases segregation.

But why let facts interfere with a couple of contrived lawsuits that don’t match up with their stated objectives? To say it all makes me a little angry would be an understatement. I just needed someone else with whom to share my moment of premature hair removal. Just count yourself lucky you can’t actually hear my high-pitched screams.

Better to calm down and find out how Colorado Kids Win with a scholarship tax credit program of our state’s very own!