Richland desegregation order conflicts with school choice policy
White students attending Rayville Elementary, a "failing" school in Richland Parish, are not allowed to transfer to a higher-scoring public school within the parish, according to a letter sent to parents last week. As reported by The Huffington Post here, a 1968 court decision dictates that, in an effort to maintain desegregated schools, white students are not allowed to transfer to other parish schools if their departure could cause the original school to be considered "all-Negro." Louisiana's Public School Choice policy generally allows students in certain low-scoring schools to transfer to higher-scoring schools. "We hope the Richland Parish School Board and the U.S. Department of Justice will continue to work together to resolve this issue," the Louisiana Department of Education says in a prepared statement. The state's Public School Choice policy is distinct from the new statewide voucher program, whereby public school students can attend private schools on the taxpayers' dime. A spokesman for the state LDOE says any Rayville Elementary student meeting the eligibility requirements, regardless of race, would be able to participate in the voucher program, although this academic year's application deadline has passed.
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