Obama’s Justice Department declares war on school choice

charter school

Now that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has effectively gelded the Wisconsin teacher’s mafia and limited its ability to extort dues from members that become the mother’s milk of the Democrat machine in Milwaukee, Barack Obama’s Department of Justice has waded into the fray with an attempt to browbeat Wisconsin into killing a vibrant school choice program. Why? Follow the money. If you kill school choice you increase the power of the teacher’s union, something they desperately need.

Reacting to a “complaint” filed by two far left groups, the Justice Department sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction demanding that it bring charter schools, which are private entities, into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Via the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty:

Last May, the public learned that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) had sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) demanding that DPI “must do more” to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in connection with school choice. It requires that DPI undertake specified activities. Today, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty released a memo responding to DOJ’s claims.

The memo concludes that the DOJ is wrong. The ADA is inapplicable to the vast majority of private schools participating in the school choice program and DPI lacks the authority to do what DOJ demands. WILL President Rick Esenberg observes that DOJ’s letter is not based on a finding – or even an allegation – of any actual discrimination. “DOJ misunderstands school choice in Wisconsin and ignores state and federal law, decades of court precedent, and even long standing federal policy,” he said. It is, he added, “just another federal power grab.”

DOJ’s argument relies on the faulty premise that private schools in the choice program are public entities – or can be regulated in the same way – because they accept state dollars. But this is inconsistent with controlling precedent and the pertinent statutes. The fact that parents use vouchers at private schools does not turn them into public entities any more than the use of SNAP benefits at a Wal-Mart or TANF benefits to pay a child care provider makes either the store or the daycare public bodies. Nor does it subject them, by a form of “osmotic transfer” to the same legal obligations that do apply to public entities.

George Will observes that the demand is federal overreach …read more    

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