Louisiana Legislator Was For School Vouchers, Until She Remembered That Muslims Exist

ValarieHodgesAs part of the ongoing, post-Katrina libertarianization of Louisiana, thousands of students will begin the 2012/13 schoolyear in private schools, their tuitions paid by government voucher. Louisiana’s finest schools won’t offer many spots to voucher kids; most students will be attending obscure institutions, nearly all of them religious. In June, Reuters described some of those schools:

The school willing to accept the most voucher students — 314 — is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

… At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains “what God made” on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

“We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children,” Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity …

This is a-okay, according to Republican State Rep. Valarie Hodges. Or would be. Last month, she came to a terrifying realization:

Rep. Valarie Hodges … says she had no idea that Gov. Boddy Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.

“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges said.

Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.”

What tipped her off? Between the time that the school voucher law, known as “Act 2″ (formerly HB976) was put to vote, and the time Louisiana officials set about figuring out how to fund the thing, a Muslim school asked to be made voucher eligible. From the Livingston Parish News:

“Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

Now, Rep. Hodges is fighting against Act 2. The school board in her district, the Livingston Parish School Board, has joined with 19 other Louisianan boards in a lawsuit challenging Act 2’s constitutionality.


  1. says

    Poor, Valerie, her brain as soft-focus as her picture. Government vouchers for religious schools are fantastic, but only for one religion, you know that endorsed one, not any of those other ones. She might want to peruse some of that “Founding Fathers” stuff again.

  2. Paul R says

    Well come on. It’s the South. Is anyone really surprised? Have you ever been to parts of Louisiana outside the main cities? No one raising kids there cares because they’re idiots.

  3. Carlos says

    I’m not an american, but I strongly believe that it’s a crime to neglect a child’s education, and in this case so unpatriotic to jeopardize America’s leading position in the world with this rhetoric. Condemning poor kids to stay poor all their lives. How these politicians get elected in the first place? In my country I get it, we are learning how democracy works, but in America with all its democratic tradition, how can this kind of people get to decide?
    Where I come from we say something like this, do not worry to much about a**holes, worry about a**holes with initiative.

  4. Strepsi says

    It is such an overused internet phrase, but reading this I actually thought, “The stupid, it burns!!!”

    Organized Christianity is the biggest threat to Americans’ Constitutional rights (including freedom of religion).

    The analagous situation is happening in the military, with the acceptance of Christian proselytizing, which is illegal and not acceptable under the military’s own rules. It’s ‘all well and good’ when it’s Christian, but then you have to open it to others, and Christopher Hitchens wrote an excellent article about the direct line from opening the military to Christianity, to the Major Nidal Malik Hasan Islamist shooting: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/12/hitchens-theocracy-200912

  5. Caliban says

    I’d call her an effing idiot but effing idiots might sue me for slander.

    No school vouchers. Ever. Especially if you want to teach that “God” bibbety-bobbity-booed the world into being 6-10 thousand years ago. The public school system churns out enough idiots as it is without adding deliberate misinformation to the list. A few years ago someone did a study showed said a sizable percentage of Americans believed men had one less rib than women because “Eve” was made from “Adam’s” rib.

    And every time these fuckwits get a flu shot they acknowledge evolution because otherwise ‘the flu’ would just be one thing and vaccines wouldn’t have to be updated to address how it has EVOLVED.

    I believe that on some level it’s a human rights issue. Children have the RIGHT to an education based on science and objective reality instead of fairy tales. Science brought us the end of polio and the internet*, religion brought us the Inquisition.

    *It’s pretty hard to argue that science doesn’t know what it’s doing when you’re responding to an article on your computer, simultaneously connected with millions (if not billions) of other computers around the world.

  6. patrick says

    Double Duh! The republicans will also (slowly) realize that the laws they are passing excusing lawbreaking based on religious views will backfire on them as well.

  7. chuck says

    I had the horrible misfortune to spend 13 of my first 18 years in Lousyana. Though I went to one of the best schools in the state (don’t laugh!!), we didn’t learn about evolution or even animal reproduction (much less human reproduction). Now I realize it’s because we might have gotten confused or gotten ideas about – gasp! – sex from studying, say, bunny rabbit anatomy. I’m happy to say that years of therapy have helped me recover from a Looziana childhood.

  8. UFFDA says

    A grown neighbor’s son visiting from Loosiana said to me after he’d been in Seattle a few days, “Boy, there’s a lot of smart people around here aren’t there?” – scratches head – then, “In Loosiana I’M considered smart.”

    I can’t imagine being actually surrounded by such people, I never have been. ENDO’S nearby though.

  9. Kenneth says

    As fewer and fewer Americans are educated, these scumbags get exactly what they want. However, at some point, they are actually going to get what they deserve instead. I just hope I don’t live long enough to see it!

  10. says

    The thing is, it’s not longer some extreme-leftist Conspiracy Theory to suggest or state that the GOP wants to give as many children as possible the WORST education that they can.

    They dont’ want smart children becoming intelligent and discerning adults. They want to raise and army of Jesus-worshipping plebes who will vote GOP because of “the bible” and thus vote for their own economic failure.

    Shame on America’s conservatives.

  11. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    Here are some of the uses of radioisotopes in modern technology. Our knowledge of the activity and behavior of such isotopes is how we know how old the earth is.

    Radioisotopes are used for the treatment of cancer
    Radioisotopes are used for sterilizing surgical instruments.
    Radioisotopes are used as a tracer for diagnosing various diseases
    Radioisotopes are used as a tracer for determining efficiency of thyroid gland, kidney etc….
    Radioisotopes are used to identify defects in metallic castings and pipes.
    Radioisotopes are used a s a tracer for determining effects of chemical substance in plants and animals.
    Radioisotopes are used for sterilizing food stuffs.
    Radioisotopes used for calculating blood circulation.

    I’d like to ask these fools how we could have learned how to use these elements effectively if the earth were 6,000 years old. Every time they blather about creationism vs evolution they expose ignorance so profound you have to wonder if they ever went to school for ANYTHING.

  12. Graphicjack says

    Yes, let’s send kids to schools that don’t have libraries because you know that books just “confuse” those innocent minds. Perish the thought they might actually form their own opinions… Let’s just brainwash them in front of a TV with bible classes. How do schools like this even EXIST? Shouldn’t the government demand some sort of consistency in educational content in all schools, private or public, which might include… I dunno… Science, math, literature, the arts, languages, geography (including World geography since Americans only seem to know anything about their own country, and no one else’s)… Etc. I don’t have a problem with religion, per say, being tought in schools as long as its a world religion class that has a healthy dose of realism… Maybe kids could actually choose what faith they want to believe in, or just realize that “religion” just means “practicing and non-extinct myth”.

  13. Mike B. says

    As someone who came from a country where Islam is the national religion, I’ve always known that these Christ-ists promoting “religion” in government and in schools have zero perspective. They’ve never considered what it would be like for government to support someone -else’s- religion. Well, they should.

    This is “religious school” is practically an oxymoron. Teach truth, not your stupid religion.

  14. DrJWL says

    There must be a Charm school (take off the C) for breeding Sarah Palin style Recuntlican politicians. Good for her for putting out the agenda of ignorance that Louisiana is constantly trying to maintain and enforce.

  15. Bart says

    With a name like Jindal, did she not know he must be a secret Muslim sent here to inflitrate the Louisiana government!?! How could such an astute mind as Valarie Hodges miss this?!

    My wish for Louisiana is that Muslims move there in droves to start schools that now must be funded by the government. And that all those kids in these genuis Christian schools find themselves unable to pass the SATs or ACTs and never get into college because of the inferior education they’ve received.

    This will take down the fundamentalist Christian relig-aduculousness within 10 years.

    Maybe we should have never purchased this area. But then again, then all the inbred ignorant souls would move north.

  16. anon says

    “post-Katrina libertarianization of Louisiana”?? Not sure where that comes from.

    For those that don’t know the state well, white parents have been paying for private education for their kids for decades because the public schools are horrific and “for black kids”. This merely makes it cheaper for them to do so. Nothing really has changed education-wise, they are just getting a discount now. I suppose more parents than before will take up the option, but it won’t matter much. It’s another state, too, where piety rather than morality reigns.

  17. JJ says

    This is great news. These people will fight any cause that can be painted as an Islamist conspiracy. It’s been very difficult to block Christianists as long as “liberals” have been the “enemy.” Liberals are secularists, and Christianists can fight secularists without undermining their own agenda. But the same Establishment Clause that vexes Christianists also suppresses Islamists. Most any attempt to undermine it on behalf of Christianists will also help Islamists and can be painted as an Islamist ploy, thus giving secularists a wedge against Christianists.

  18. sosadaboutewan says

    Really? Really? Just how dumb to you have to be to be elected in Louisiana?

    Do these people even spend a second thinking through the full implication of their policies?

  19. Michael says

    Did I miss something? Since when was Christianity the religion of our founding fathers? I was under the impression we were free to practice any if any religion.

  20. jamal49 says

    Louisiana is Ground Zero for the absolute destruction of the American public education system.

    In about 18 years, the fruits of Louisiana’s voucher program will come to pass: an entire generation of ignorant people.

    Governor Bobby Jindal is a social degenerate who has been a prime force behind this public voucher program. And he is considered to be presidential material for 2016, when Pres. Obama’s second term is finished!

    Louisiana should be ashamed. It isn’t but it should. Valarie Hodges is the poster child for the Dumbing Down of America.

  21. Armando says

    HA! HA! HA!

    I’m temped to go to Luisiana and open my own gay friendly atheist liberal school and make these idiots pay for it. Even better, let me open a school for kids who are not in the country legally.

    HA! HA! HA!

  22. mmike1969 says

    Typical RWNJ’s reactions and wanting to move this country BACKWARDS instead of forward.

    Ignorance is hitting the fools pretty hard, and in the near future, I can’t imagine this country being at the top of anything except being left behind.

  23. Miranda says

    As a Louisianian born and raised, I have to say that the voucher program is totally ridiculous. It is an attempt to fix a problem that is beyond the scope of what schools these kids go to.

    The main reason the educational system here is so poor is because they do not pay the teachers enough. If you offer more pay to teachers, you attract better teachers, the kind who are actually qualified to teach their subject. And better teachers make better schools. A 3rd year teacher in public school will make a bit over $45,000 a year. My 3rd year in private school I made not quite $32,000. Neither of these figures are acceptable.

    Why did I work in the private sector? I didn’t have to go through a metal detector or worry about knife fights in the hallways. This is another problem the legislators refuse to address. No one wants to work in an environment of fear.

    Bottom line, vouchers won’t work. They will only cover up the bigger issues and produce a generation of children who lack the ability to think critically. I’m saving money for my own island as we speak…

    PS: I went to a private, Catholic high school to avoid all of this crap. I was one of the lucky ones.

  24. ThomT says

    Just wait and see how she feels when someone applies to accept vouchers for the Oscar Wilde Elementary School for Gay & Lesbian Youth.

    I hate the voucher system because, at least in Ohio, 95% of the students using vouchers are attending religious backed schools. I don’t have a problem supporting education but I do have a problem with my tax money supporting religion.

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