On Monday, Governor Bobby Jindal- Louisiana’s Sarah Palin- published an opinion piece for The New York Post, a once-venerable American institution founded by Alexander Hamilton and now owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Australian entrepreneur who also owns The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and a majority stake in the Republican Party.
Despite the fact that Jindal is now in the middle of a busy legislative session, which, as anyone from Louisiana can tell you, consumes almost every second of the Governor’s schedule, he somehow managed to find time for the good people of New York City. He may live in Baton Rouge, but he can see Manhattan from his
house mansion. And as he explains in his editorial, he is deeply concerned that their new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, is actually doing what voters elected him, in a landslide, to do. Mayor de Blasio, audaciously, ran and was elected on a platform of saving and reinvesting in the public school system and holding charter school operators accountable.
If you know anything about Bobby Jindal, you know he doesn’t have any faith in the public school system that provided him with the education he needed to get into an Ivy League university and become a Rhodes Scholar, and you know he believes the only way to reform education is by imposing stringent and absurdly unrealistic benchmarks on struggling public schools in order to justify the subsidization of unaccountable private schools. This, apparently, makes him an expert in school reform and imminently qualified to opine on Mayor de Blasio’s shocking decision to require a woman named Eva Moskowitz to pay the public for the public buildings she’s using to run her charter school empire.
Jindal wants the people of New York to know that he can relate to the plight of Eva Moskowitz. He too has been persecuted by a “petulant tyrant.” Quoting (bold mine):
In Louisiana, we know a thing or two about government authorities meddling in parents’ right to choose the schools that are best for their children. President Obama’s Justice Department filed a lawsuit trying to impede our program that gives parents of low-income students in failing schools an opportunity to attend a better school. Fully nine in 10 students participating in the program are minorities, yet the Justice Department seeks to block the program on the grounds that it would lead to racial segregation. The lawsuit would be funny if it weren’t so sad — and if the lives of so many young African-American children weren’t at stake.
It is well-established that Rupert Murdoch does not employ fact-checkers, but if he did, he would learn that he allowed the Governor of Louisiana to publish an insidious deception about the intention of the United States Department of Justice in Alexander Hamilton’s newspaper.
Where do I begin?
First, Jindal’s voucher schools aren’t better. They’re significantly, demonstrably worse.
- 45% of Louisiana’s voucher school students attend failing schools.
- Voucher students in Louisiana scored 30 points lower on standardized tests than their peers in public schools.
- More than 90% of voucher schools in Louisiana failed to comply with the state’s auditing requirements.
- Numerous voucher schools illegally overcharged the state on the basis of a student’s religious affiliation.
- Dozens of Louisiana’s voucher schools teach New Earth Creationism as science.
There is a good reason the United States Department of Justice intervened: Jindal’s program was almost completely unaccountable. Attorney General Eric Holder, an African-American whose sister-in-law was, famously, one of two black students prevented from enrolling in the University of Alabama when Governor George Wallace literally stood in front of the doors, and Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States, are not meddling with Jindal’s voucher program because they want to prevent black children from receiving a quality education. They’re intervening because Jindal’s program is a sham. And yes, there is a legitimate concern that Jindal’s program, which disproportionately targets African-American children, will make majority white public schools even whiter, while reassigning black students to fly-by-night church schools. And yes, that most definitely undermines the central aspiration of integration.
To me, though, this grandstanding is not the most egregious part of Jindal’s sanctimonious letter to the readers of The New York Post. It’s this (bold mine):
In his 2009 inaugural address, President Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place.” Yet the sound science of numerous studies confirming the positive effects of school choice on student achievement matters far less to Democratic politicians than the nearly $100 million in contributions they’ve received over the last 25 years just from the two largest teachers unions.
Bobby Jindal may have a degree in biology, but he is permanently disqualified from lecturing anyone on science. If he agrees that science should be restored “to its rightful place,” then he should begin by realizing that there are no scientific studies on school choice; there’s no such thing. There may be outcomes reports on certain policies and programs, but that’s not science. If it were, I could prove, scientifically, that Jindal is the worst Governor in the history of Louisiana. After all, I’ve observed, tested, and verified, over and over, that his policies are terrible. But, unlike Jindal, I know what science actually means.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Jindal doesn’t even have the slightest understanding of science. After all, this is the same man who thinks he helped cure a friend of cancer after participating in an exorcism, the same man who signed a law allowing public school teachers the ability to teach creationism as science, and the same man who funneled millions in taxpayer dollars to voucher schools that believe the Loch Ness monster is real and alive and disproves evolution.