Louisiana Teachers Union Sends Legal Nastygrams to Keep Poor Kids Out of Voucher Schools


angry teacher

In Louisiana, there's a new voucher system to help poor kids get out of failing schools. Students who come from households with income below 250 percent of the poverty line who are enrolled in public schools that have been rated C, D, or F by the state accountability system are eligible for a Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence—a voucher they can apply toward tuition at a private school of their choice. 

In other words, the state is offering vouchers to kids who have been well and truly screwed by the system.

Needless to say, the teachers unions aren't thrilled about the prospect of kids bailing out of schools under union control and taking their funding with them. The union sued, but on July 10, a Baton Rouge court refused to stop the law from going into effect, so the teachers union launched Plan B: Bully private schools by sending them threatening legal letters, so that they will be afraid to accept students bearing the new vouchers. The union's lawyers, Blackwell & Associates, sent out nastygrams to 95 private schools. Here's some sample text from the letters, which were sent out last week.

legal letter

(Read the full letter here.)

The letter referenced in the text above is a notification to the state superintendent of school notifying him that parents trying to enroll their kids in a private school using the voucher will be refused. 

School choice champion Clint Bolick, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute in Arizona sums up the outrageousness of this tactic nicely:

In over two decades of school choice advocacy, I've never seen thuggery of this magnitude. What the unions can't accomplish in the courtroom, they're trying to achieve through bullying schools whose only offense is offering educational opportunities to children who need them.

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  1. If I were a judge, I’d rip those papers up and have the plaintiffs bodily removed from the entire court building.

  2. This is extortion. Do the legal eagles here agree?

    1. “If you mention extortion again, I’ll have your legs broken.”

    2. Depends on the states. In many, threatening litigation is explicitly excepted from extortion laws. In PA for example:

      (b) Defenses.–It is a defense to prosecution based on paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3) or (a)(4) of this section that the property obtained by threat of accusation, exposure, lawsuit or other invocation of official action was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances to which such accusation, exposure, lawsuit or other official action relates, or as compensation for property or lawful services.

  3. As a system fails, its adherents continually become more petty and vicious. Hence the existence of Fox News and the Huffington Post.

  4. Nothing based on coercion can succeed.

    1. I guess that copy of The Gulag Archipelago just miracled its ass out of Elizaveta Voronyanskaya’s hands.

  5. I mean, they can’t claim to be acting in good faith since the legal action they’re threatening has already been dismissed. This is pure intimidation.

    1. It looks like they sought a preliminary injunction and lost that. Not entirely clear from the article, but I don’t think it’s been finally dismissed at this point.

  6. What private institution is going to fall for this? The teachers unions aren’t the only ones with legal counsel.

    1. Next move: Louisiana teachers’ unions call in false domestic-violence claims, cops end up SWATting homes of voucher supporters.

    2. I doubt some little Catholic school has a bunch of money lying around for lawyers.

      1. Uh, they’re all Koch-funded. I think they can spring for some consulation. Plus the Pope is richer than God on payday.

        1. and there is a connection between the church and the mob. Nice teachers’ union you got; be a shame if something happened to any of the members.

          1. You lost me here, wareagle. There literally isn’t a single instance when the teachers unions are not the scum bag coercing criminals. How in the fuck is the church coercing the parasites union?

            1. Yeah,
              fuck the teachers and their fucked up unions.

              Hopefully, shit like this will kill off enough of their support to make outlawing them entirely viable.

  7. TAHT TAHT TAHT seems wrong to me

    1. oops… already corrected… good job Katherine

  8. “Challenging the constitutionality of” the law allowing vouchers to be used in this way.

    Huh? The constitutionality? What could that argument possibly have been?

    1. Their argument is “once tax monies are taken, they belong to us, and Fuck You, That’s Why.”

    2. Could have been a 1A argument based on vouchers going to religious schools.

      1. Wouldn’t excluding religious schools be the actual 1A violation?

    3. I am sure they are referring to our state constitution which is insanely huge and complex. I am sure nearly anything could be challenged on its constitutionality at the state level here.

      Absolutely disgusting. I know a couple of teachers and intend to give them a ton of shit about this.

      1. Yeah, Loosey-anna is the only state in the country that has a French-style civil code instead of a common law system.

  9. Does this type of behavior by the union actually surprise anyone?

    It would have epic, though, to watch MNG defend this.

    1. Where did he scamper off to? I wonder…

      …well, not that concerned, just curious.

      1. As soon as registration was implemented…no more MNG. Which is probably telling, in that he was probably doing a lot of anonypussying and handle switching, and when he couldn’t do that shit any more, he left.

        1. Joe was back as The Derider today. As soon as Warty and I called him out for being Joe, he ran off.

          1. So Derider is the legendary joe? Is that why his arguments always suck and he gets so mean?

            1. Yup. If you notice, he fits all of Joe’s profile

              1. Nasty and personal
              2. Dishonest
              3. Smug and annoying

              And most importantly he stops posting on the thread whenever someone calls him Joe.

            2. Joe is also “Apparently a ‘Statist'”, but I don’t think he’s been around as that handle since we called him out on it.

              1. The obsession you guys have with who is posting under what name is hilarious. Almost as much as the Truther-level low standards of evidence to confirm what you want to believe.

                1. U mad, Tulpy-Poo, that you can’t handle-hop any more? Poor Tulpy-Poo.

                  1. Maybe he can write about how immature we are on his gay little blog.

                2. The obsession you guys have with who is posting under what name is hilarious. Almost as much as the Truther-level low standards of evidence to confirm what you want to believe.

                  Sentence 1: agreed. Sentence 2: pot, meet kettle.

            3. I knew that douche couldn’t stay away. I even once sent him a personal email asking him to come back. I said HR wasn’t the same without him. He never responded.

              Little did I know…

  10. Answer: “NUTS”

  11. The letter referenced in the text above is a notification to the state superintendent of school notifying him that parents trying to enroll their kids in a private school using the voucher will be refused.

    It was really classy of the attorney to postdate the attached letter and include the school’s letterhead. At least Erin Brockovich is finding work again.

  12. Anytime some left-tard diaper stain goes all Matt Damon about how great and noble public school teachers unions are, and how they care soooo much about teh childrunz, I’m going to refer them to this right here. What a bunch of despicable fuckwits. I suppose it’s too much to hope that the school returned the letter with the words “go fuck yourselves” written across it.

    As for the 2nd alt-text: lawyers for unions, especially teacher’s unions, have no shame. Not even a little. If they did, they wouldn’t work for a teacher’s union.

    1. But..but..but.. These selfless teachers are only going to extremes in order to save these children from an education which comes at the expense of being indoctrinated in to corporacracy. These for-profit institutions need to be stopped at all cost; even if it means forcing them in to substandard public schools where they have teachers who genuinely care about their education.

  13. Fucking union parasites.

  14. I hope they post the letter where they told them to kindly go fuck themselves.

  15. If I were the school’s attorney, I’d forward this letter on to the state bar with a complaint attached.

  16. Why would you actually try to improve the quality of your work, and compete, when you can use the club of onerously expensive litigation?

  17. “NUTS”


    1. “Nuts” is the proper reply when Nazis ask you to surrender. Well done indeed!

  18. In over two decades of school choice advocacy, I’ve never seen thuggery of this magnitude.

    So from August 27 to October 30 of 2005 was he stranded on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

  19. Students who come from households with income below 250 percent of the poverty line…

    Wait what? Does that mean they lose 150% of the poverty line every year? Every month?

    1. Yeah I wondered about that too.

      1. You both fail at math.

        The federal government each year establishes a “poverty line” based on family size. To be eligible for the vouchers, the family income has to be less than 2.5x the poverty line.

        Example: The poverty line for a family of 4 in 2012 is $23,050. To be eligible for a school voucher, the family income (usually AGI on the 1040) has to be below $57,625.

  20. A few quick points:

    1) Why are Reason writers so fucking shoddy? What is a ‘nastygram’ exactly? Was it a letter with a stamp on it or was is hand delivered by a server? Or sent signature delivery via US Mail? Because it was sent with just a first-class stamp, then anyone with a 3rd grade intellect (aka your typical Leftist) would be able assume the legal ramifications of the letter are bogus.

    2) Why are True Libertarians getting all giddy over “Nuts!”??? Don’t you know who said that? It was a US General. A military guy! He wore a uniform! It was probably clean! He most likely didn’t hate cops! I bet he never shot at his own men! Do you think Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe had any first editions signed by uber-American Gore Vidal himself? Nuts no! Maccy probably never even thought of going to a “Roosevelt Lied, Pearl Harbor Fried” anti-war rally. And yet, no one’s called him out.

    1. I am not a True Libertarian. I don’t hate either the police (with the obvious exception of Dunphy) or the military. I also had nothing but bad to say about Gore Vidal.

      “Giddy over Nuts”? I like it when people stand up to Nazis, why else?

      Damn, Joe, it sure didn’t take you long to find another handle.

      1. “I don’t hate either the police (with the obvious exception of Dunphy)”

        I’m not sure it’s possible to hate Dunphy whilst claiming you don’t hate police (since when is it wrong to hate cops anyway?). He’s the classic smirking egomaniac jerk in blue, but clearly on the periphery of the genuine repugnant filth in his business.

    2. This makes a ll kinds of sense dude. WOw.

  21. This makes a ll kinds of sense dude. WOw.

  22. I live in Louisiana, and while I’m not a huge fan of vouchers since I don’t want the government to start attaching strings to the voucher money, I still think vouchers a better alternative than what we have now. If you’re making the teachers unions angry, you’re probably doing something right.

    1. I would tend to agree. I have a problem with vouchers because you are given far more than you pay in and because there’s no incentive for private schools to make their tuition more affordable, but still better than being stuck in public school forever.

      1. Most voucher programs I have read about offer LESS than the per-student spending in the area public schools. If you mean that the vouchers are for more than the parents pay in local taxes, then the same applies to Public Schools. The difference being that private schools have a better record of educating the little ankle-biters.

  23. That letter is absolutely ludicrous. I know Louisiana has a ‘unique’ legal system but in any other state in the union it would not be the responsibility of the recipient of the funds to determine whether or not the government issued the fund legally or not.
    Now they would be responsible to return said funds if the disbursal were deemed incorrect but it is not their job to determine the legality of accepting funds from the state.
    If anything, the schools would have a civil case against the union and their representation for willfully and knowingly trying to injure their ability to conduct lawful commerce in the state.
    I’m guessing their counsel sent a counter letter to Blackwell noting as much.

  24. Indiana has a voucher system which is available to all students in a certain income bracket, regardless of the rating of their public school. The system here is in its infancy, we’re only seeing registrations for year two after implementation… but it’s being hailed as a huge success. I don’t recall any sort of whining by teachers’ unions except before the law was passed. You don’t hear anything about it now.

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