Louisiana Charter Schools: We’re Mad At The Wrong People
Unless you’re involved in the LGBT community or take a particular interest in the issue, you’re likely not aware that sexual orientation is not a protected class of person in the United States. In the United States, you are only protected by federal law from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, familial status, disability status, veteran status, and genetic information. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia prohibit sexual orientation as basis for discrimination.
With that in mind, Louisiana does not consider sexual orientation a protected class. The bill that is trying to be passed basically re-emphasizes that the charter schools have a choice in how they pick their students. It sounds awful and horrific on the surface. It is on its face sad that these schools might not be willing to handle students with differing backgrounds. It is also a major problem that they are operating on public money but are allowed to do things that public schools can’t do.
But isn’t that the point? The public school system in Louisiana in a great number of parishes is in shambles. It’s gotten to the point where voters want to divert money into a non-public system because of what they deem to be better results. The voters of Louisiana chose to blur the line between public and private. While I would hate for my own child to be educated in a non-diverse school, these schools have made it clear that they are incapable and/or unwilling to handle students of various backgrounds. Would I even want my children in that setting? No.
The entire public school system of Louisiana is to blame for this situation. It’s not just the charter schools and their policies. The state and its voters are also to blame for this situation. This blurry mess was voter created. Our role doesn’t end at the ballot box however. When the system fails, we as individuals have multiple roles to play. We can create an environment in society that reminds children of all backgrounds that they have value as people, that they should be respected, that they have the right to be educated, and that they are capable of a wide range of things as long as they work hard at it.
The biggest problem isn’t the charter schools. The biggest problem is the lack of accountability of the parents, teachers, administrations, and the government of Louisiana for their roles in creating such a toxic educational system. If people want to blame charter schools for discriminating, I want to point the finger and blame them for failing so badly that it allowed charter schools to become a viable option. Instead of being mad at a handful homophobes who would treat LGBT students like crap any way, be mad at all the self righteous people who aren’t willing to fix a broken system because of their pride.
21 states and the District of Columbia have shown that if you change the cultural mindset, you can change the laws. Getting upset at a bill that reinforces the current laws misses the point. We can’t expect the judicial or the executive branch of the state government to create laws. That’s literally not their job. If we want change, we have to change the minds of the hundreds of elected representatives that are supposed to represent the citizens of the state.