ChoiceMedia.tv has reported on a Twitter war that erupted last week between the Twitter account of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and a pro-school choice group called the Black Alliance of Education Options. The official social media account of the state’s chapter of the American Federation of Teachers accused the BAEO of standing on the side of the Ku Klux Klan by supporting the state’s wide-ranging voucher program.
If those reading are scratching their head on how a group whose aims are increased access to quality education for Louisiana’s African-American community. they aren’t alone. ChoiceMedia parsed the tweets and laid out the pretzel logic deployed by the LFT:
The logic went like this. The union claimed that 20 private schools in Louisiana, which accept government vouchers for tuition, use textbooks from Bob Jones University Press. They also said some of the textbooks include positive phrases or insinuations about the Klan. So since BAEO supports school choice through vouchers, and some of the vouchers go to the schools that use those textbooks, the union says that BAEO is supporting the KKK.
“Louisiana BAEO supports pro-KKK curriculum via vouchers,” said the union.
Shortly after the first set of tweets went out, the people behind the LFT account failed to stop when they were behind and accused several other groups representing the interests of racial and ethnic minorities to the pro-KKK list, including the Hispanic Coalition for Reform and Educational Options. LouisianaFedTeachers said that their support for all voucher programs puts them in sympathy with the KKK.
In case the message wasn’t clear the first time around, it was repeated about 15 minutes later. When ChoiceMedia queried the Twitter account for a list of schools that were supposedly teaching this Bob Jones University-authored curriculum, the people behind it were less than forthcoming. Instead of providing the list, they suggested that a public request should be made to pinpoint which schools actually offer the material.
Shortly after the tweets went live, Kevin Chavous, a member of the BAEO’s board of directors, dismissed the accusations as gutter politics aimed at muddying the waters:
“This is pure unadulterated race-baiting. And this is a deflection of the real issue. And that is in Louisiana now with the charter school movement, with the traditional school reform measure that was passed by the legislature this year, and with the voucher program, parents have more choices. And when parents have more choices, the traditional status quo bureaucracy gets desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
No matter the kind of scare tactics the LFT was employing, he added, they are unable to disguise the fact that over 10,000 of Louisiana families have signed up to take advantage of the voucher program since the application process first opened two weeks ago.