Justice Dept. sues LA over school vouchers, Jindal displeased

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The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Louisiana to stop the state from distributing school vouchers in districts that remain under desegregation court orders.           

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal called the department's action Saturday "shameful" and said President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder "are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools."           

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the Justice Department says Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to nearly 600 public school students in districts that are still under such orders, and "many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process."           

The department said Louisiana has given vouchers this school year to students in at least 22 districts remaining under desegregation orders.           

A court hearing is tentatively set for Sept. 19.

Here is Governor Jindal's full statement:

"This is shameful. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are trying to keep kids trapped in failing public schools against the wishes of their parents. It's the latest example of government trying to tell parents that they know best. This action highlights the fundamental disregard of the federal government for the rights of parents to make choices for their children.

"The Obama Administration thinks parents should have to seek their approval any time parents want to send their child to a school of their choice.  After generations of being denied a choice, parents finally can choose a school for their child, but now the federal government is stepping in to prevent parents from exercising this right. Shame on them. Parents should have the ability to decide where to send their child to school.

"Giving every single child – no matter their race or their income – the opportunity to get a great education is a moral imperative.  We will not sit by while folks in Washington, D.C. try to tell Louisiana parents that they are not able to attend the school of their choice. Make no mistake – this motion is a threat to the children in our state who only get one chance to grow up and deserve the opportunity to get the best education so they can pursue their dreams."

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