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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

LA teachers fight voucher plan to use public funds for private schools

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Tuesday, May 7, 2024   

A plan to use public money to fund vouchers for students to attend private schools is drawing pushback from Louisiana teachers, who say the plan could devastate the public school system.

The program making its way through the Louisiana Legislature would be first available to low-income students and by the 2027-2028 school year, it would be available to all students.

Larry Carter, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, predicts the plan could cause significant budget cuts for public schools.

"These universal voucher bills are a step in the wrong direction," Carter argued. "We've seen in other states around the country, like Arizona and Ohio, where these bills have been passed, they're now facing a budget crisis, and we're hoping that we cannot go down that same road."

Carter pointed out the education savings account program known by the acronym LA GATOR would allow as much as $7,500 per student from families below 250% of the Federal Poverty Line, and $5,000 for those who make more.

The plan, House Bill 745 and companion Senate Bill 313, has been approved by the state House. The Senate is expected to vote on it by Friday or Monday.

Carter explained teachers are concerned classroom standards currently mandated for public schools would not be upheld in private or parochial schools.

"We want to make sure it has some accountability," Carter emphasized. "We think that's at least giving all education stakeholders and parents an opportunity to talk about whether this program is successful or not. And through accountability practices, we think that will help."

There is concern the plan would force public schools to eliminate many positions and needed programs. Carter fears the loss of funds could deprive students of the benefits of a public school education.

"If we're cutting that funding stream, Louisiana students will have fewer nurses and counselors, less options for after school program, and certainly limited access to field trips and AP courses that help prepare them for their next step in life," Carter outlined.

Disclosure: The American Federation of Teachers contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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