Thanks to Bobby Jindal, we know how disastrous Trump’s education policies could be

By Robert Mann

Let’s be grateful for former Gov. Bobby Jindal. He was a failure, but at least one of his failures gave us an inkling of how disastrous President-elect Donald Trump’s national education policies could be.

In nominating billionaire activist Betsy DeVos for education secretary, Trump has signaled that, like Jindal, abandoning public schools is one promise he hopes to keep. Trump proposes using $20 billion in federal funds as block grants to encourage states to fund private-school vouchers. That would mean diverting another $110 billion in state and local funds to send students to private schools that conservatives like DeVos claim are superior to their so-called “government school” counterparts.

However, Trump and DeVos — who has spent $1.6 million trying to influence Louisiana elections — must persuade cash-strapped governors and legislators to spend scarce resources on a scheme that’s failed wherever it’s been tried.

This is where the disappointment of Jindal’s voucher program enters the picture, as policy makers and the media will inevitably examine its dismal performance. At Jindal’s urging, in 2008 lawmakers created the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), enabling some disadvantaged students to leave public schools graded a C or lower and enroll in a participating private school. By 2014, more than 6,000 public school students attended one of 126 private schools.

In 2015, Jindal bragged about his program. “For students attending private schools on public dollars, almost all of whom arrived several years behind, their lives are being turned around,” he wrote in a column on CNN’s website.

If only that were true. In a paper published last year by the National Bureau for Economic Research, three scholars documented “the large negative effects” and the reduced academic achievements of scholarship program students in 2013, the first year after the program’s expansion.

“Our results show that LSP vouchers reduce academic achievement,” the researchers concluded, explaining, “attendance at an LSP-eligible private school is estimated to lower math scores” and “reduce reading, science and social studies scores.”

Why? “We find evidence,” the researchers wrote, “that the negative effects of the LSP may be linked to selection of low-quality private schools into the program.”

A comprehensive 2016 study of the program for the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans also concluded “an LSP scholarship user who was performing at roughly the 50th percentile at baseline fell 24 percentile points below their control group counterparts in math after one year. By year 2, they were 13 percentile points below.”

Imagine that. Pluck kids from troubled public schools, put them into substandard private schools and — voila! — you’ve made their academic condition worse.

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This entry was posted in 2016 presidential election, Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, Education, Louisiana Politics, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Thanks to Bobby Jindal, we know how disastrous Trump’s education policies could be

  1. JonTB says:

    Thanks to Bobby Jindal, we know how disastrous all of Trumps policies will be. Fortunately, Jindal didn’t have the key to nuclear weapons or our Sportsman Paradise state would totally be destroyed. Unfortunately, the people of this state did not learn their lesson from Bobby’s tenure and voted Trump in, plus they will most likely send Republicans back to the Senate and House. I notice Trump isn’t showing much interest in Bobby and all his “expertise/experience.” Trump and his billionaire cabinet members should look at Louisiana and to see the results of it’s alt-right government over the last 8 years, but I am sure that will not be done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephen Winham says:

    Maybe Ms. DeVos will hire Jindal. He would be a good fit in a relatively low-level position aimed at the final destruction of public education nationwide.


  3. martybankson says:

    Transitioning from an industrial- to a service-based economy is forcing the capitalist economy to shift its profit potential from commodifying consumer goods to commodifying consumer services. Education is the plum, as the possibility of profit from the service is coupled with its own brand of “education”. Charter schools and vouchers are two sides of the same coin of privatization of education. A recent review in NYRB holds out hope that there has been some pushback against this effort in some states of late, but the Trump-DeVos team will certainly up the ante.
    “No high-performing nation in the world has privatized its schools.”


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