By KEVIN McGILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican congressional leaders are urging the Justice Department to consider ending its move to block Louisiana from issuing new private school tuition vouchers in districts that remain under federal desegregation orders.
Tuesday's letter to Attorney General Eric Holder is signed by Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and four other House GOP leaders. It says the department's move could force students to stay in failing public schools and pressure other states to abandon similar initiatives.
Justice officials say vouchers have impeded desegregation in some districts under desegregation orders. The department wants new vouchers blocked in such districts unless and until they are approved by a federal court.
The voucher program provides state-funded private school tuition for some students assigned to low-performing public schools.