The Nevada state constitution contains this language:
Article 11, Section 10: “No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.”
Mercedes Schneider explains how the Nevada Supreme Court did a fancy rhetorical two-step to conclude that the state constitution does not forbid vouchers, it just forbids funding them. Got that?
She then shows a video of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, telling a Florida lawyer how corporate taxes can be used to provide vouchers for use in any school, including religious schools. This, despite the fact that the Florida state constitution explicitly says in Article 1, Section 3:
“There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.”
This, despite the fact that the voters of Florida rejected an effort to change this portion of the Florida state constitution to allow vouchers for religious schools in 2012. The so-called “Religious Freedom Amendment” was voted down by 55-44%.
US Secretary of Education nominee and “true pioneer of the school choice movement across the country,” Betsy DeVos, explains how the educational tax credit enables what would be public money (collected in the form of corporate taxes) from becoming public money at minute 4:45 in the 2015 Youtube video below in which Edward Pozzuoli, the president of Florida-based Tripp Scott Law Firm, interviews then-American Federation for Children (AFC) Chair DeVos, about tax credits.
The entire 9-minute video is an eye opener; DeVos talks about how the AFC does it all: finds the school choice candidates (she’s particularly keen on private school choice); puts “political effort” behind electing/defeating candidates; “works on the policies… the actual legislation,” and “helps parents and kids to find schools and schools to find parents and kids.”
“Reformers” intent on replacing public schools with for-profit charters and religious schools don’t let a little thing like the state constitution get in their way. Conservatives used to call themselves “strict constructionists” when it came to the federal or state constitution. They insisted on abiding by the original intent of those who wrote the constitution. It turns out now that they believe quite the opposite and are ready to reinterpret the clear language of state constitutions to achieve their goal of privatization.