Education

Louisiana Republican Supports State Funds For Religious Schools, As Long As They’re Not Islamic

Louisiana Rep. Valerie Hodges

Louisiana Republicans supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s education system, which includes a voucher program that allows state funds to be used to send students to religiously-affiliated schools — until they began to realize that Islamic schools could also be among the institutions supported by taxpayer funds.

Rep. Valarie Hodges (R-Watson) voted for Jindal’s bill in the Louisiana House, but has since withdrawn her support for the measure because she now realizes that it “unfortunately” applies more broadly:

HODGES: I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools…Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion. 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.

Hodges said that she is concerned about bringing “damaging schools” to her district because “we can not risk putting [the students] in jeopardy.”

Hodges isn’t the first Louisiana Republican to backtrack on support for the voucher program after discovering that Islamic schools would be included. Rep. Kenneth Havard (R-Jackson) has also maintained he won’t support any education spending plan that “will fund Islamic teaching.”