Archives for category: Religion

Politico describes a meeting of wealthy Christians where Betsy and Dick DeVos explained the religious motivation behind their dedication to school vouchers. 

 

 

The billionaire philanthropist whom Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Education Department once compared her work in education reform to a biblical battleground where she wants to “advance God’s Kingdom.”

 

Trump’s pick, Betsy DeVos, a national leader of the school choice movement, has pursued that work in large part by spending millions to promote the use of taxpayer dollars on private and religious schools.
Her comments came during a 2001 meeting of “The Gathering,” an annual conference of some of the country’s wealthiest Christians. DeVos and her husband, Dick, were interviewed a year after voters rejected a Michigan ballot initiative to change the state’s constitution to allow public money to be spent on private and religious schools, which the DeVoses had backed.

 

In the interview, an audio recording, which was obtained by POLITICO, the couple is candid about how their Christian faith drives their efforts to reform American education.

 

School choice, they say, leads to “greater Kingdom gain.” The two also lament that public schools have “displaced” the Church as the center of communities, and they cite school choice as a way to reverse that troubling trend.

 

The audio from the private gathering, though 15 years old, offers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of DeVos’ personal views — views that may guide her decision-making as the nation’s top education official. DeVos has repeatedly said she wants policies that give families choices about their children’s education — the choice of public schools included — but her critics fear that her goal is to shift public funding from already beleaguered traditional public schools to private and religious schools.

 

Remember the idea of separation of church and state, which Thomas Jefferson championed? The DeVos family does not accept that principle.

 

 

 

Edd Doerr is the president of Americans for Religious Liberty and a strong proponent of separation of church and state. In this paper, he gives a brief overview of the history of this infra, explains why vouchers are a very bad idea, and reviews the 27 state referenda on vouchers or variant on public funds for religious schools.

 

Since his paper was written in 2012, a proposal to amend the Florida state constitution to permit vouchers (called the Religious Freedom Amendment) was defeated in 2012 by 55-45%, despite a vigorous campaign by Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee on its behalf, and despite the deceptive tactic of asking voters whether they support “religious freedom.” This past election, voters in Oklahoma rejected a constitutional amendment that would “have stripped the provision in the state constitution that prevents public money or property from being used to support religion and religious institutions.”

 

Wherever vouchers exist, they have been authorized by state legislatures, never by voters. State legislatures are influenced by political contributions and are easier to manipulate than voters, as Dick and Betsy DeVos learned when their own state voucher proposal in Michigan went down to defeat in 2000.

 

In Doerr’s paper, he shows how voucher advocates ignore the Founding Fathers’ conviction about religious liberty. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia legislation called “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.”*

 

Doerr quotes a section of the bill:

 

This Act ended legal compulsion to attend church services and barred tax support for religious institutions. It provide that “no man . . . shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or beliefs, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

 

Doerr goes on to write:

 

While the Constitution drafted in 1787 did not grant the federal government power to deal with religion in any way, it proscribed religious tests for public office, and provided for an affirmation instead of an oath of office. The absence of a specific religious freedom guarantee bothered Jefferson and others. Six states ratified the Constitution but insisted on a religious freedom amendment. Rhode Island and North Carolina declined to ratify it until a bill of rights was adopted. Shortly after his election to the House of Representatives Madison introduced a compilation of proposals for a bill of rights to be added. Several versions of a religious liberty provision were considered before the following wording of what is now the First Amendment was adopted: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

 

President Jefferson, in a carefully thought-out 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, declared that these words built a “wall of separation between church and state.” Supporters of church-state separation hold that the “no establishment” clause was noted by the Supreme Court as early as 1878, but was best and most succinctly interpreted by the Supreme Court in the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education ruling. The Court stated:

 

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state’.”

 

So bear in mind as Trump and DeVos and others promote vouchers that would divert money from public schools to religious schools, they are at war not only with voters but with the Founding Fathers.

 

*Doerr cites the wrong date for passage of the bill in Virginia, which was 1779, not 1786.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan released the following statement on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education:

 
Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, issued the following statement on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education:

 

We strongly urge Congress to scrutinize the record of Betsy DeVos, who has been a staunch proponent of school vouchers, a misguided idea that diverts taxpayer dollars into private and parochial schools and perverts the bedrock American value of separation of church and state. She and her husband served as the primary fundraisers and engine for a Michigan ballot initiative –Kids First! Yes! Coalition that voters soundly rejected in 2000.

 

She has ardently supported the unlimited, unregulated growth of charter schools in Michigan, elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools. She’s done this despite overwhelming evidence that proves that charters do no better at educating children than traditional public schools and serve only to exacerbate funding problems for cash-strapped public districts. We believe that all children have a right to a quality public education, and we fear that Betsy DeVos’ relentless advocacy of charter schools and vouchers betrays these principles.

A charter chain in Arizona is being sued in federal court for allowing the teaching of religion in school. One of the board members of the chain is a son of a member of the state board of education, appointed by Governor Douglas Ducey.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports:

A national organization filed suit Wednesday against an Arizona charter school with ties to a member of the state Board of Education, accusing it of using state funds to illegally teach religious doctrine.

The federal court lawsuit claims that Heritage Academy, with three campuses in Maricopa County teaching grades 7 through 12, is violating the First Amendment, state constitutional provisions and Arizona laws through the instruction provided to students as well as the required reading.

Attorney Richard Katskee, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said that specifically includes teachings of founder, president and teacher Earl Taylor Jr. that the Ten Commandments, including those that mandate the worship of God, must be obeyed to attain happiness.

Other teachings, he said, include that socialism violates God’s laws.

And Katskee said the school engages in a form of proselytizing by telling students “they are duty-bound to implement and instruct others about these religious and religiously based principles in order to restore the United States to freedom, prosperity and peace.”

Among the academy’s board members is Jared Taylor, who is Earl’s son. Taylor was one of Doug Ducey’s first appointments last year to the state Board of Education.

Neither Taylor would comment on the specifics of lawsuit. But the elder Taylor said he has answered similar allegations in the past for the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.

Calls to Whitney Chapa, the board’s executive director who has access to those files, were not immediately returned.

And gubernatorial press aide Daniel Scarpinato said his boss had no comment on the lawsuit.

Under Arizona law, private and even for-profit corporations can set up charter schools. They are considered public schools, entitled to state aid and cannot charge tuition.

They are exempt from some — but not all — of the regulations that govern traditional public schools. And there is a specific requirement that a charter school “ensure that it is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies and employment practices and all other operations.”

There also is a state constitutional provision that bars the use of public money for religious instruction and a separate one forbidding the use of state taxes for any sectarian school.

Does the explicit language of the state constitution matter any more?

Gene V. Glass here reproduces the Republican platform on education. The Republican platform supports school choice, the public display of the Ten Commandments, merit pay, two-parent families, and a Constitutional amendment to keep government from interfering with parental rights over children. (I am reminded of the day in 2012 when Mitt Romney went into an all-black school in Philadelphia and spoke out about the virtues of two-parent families; the principal told him that few of the children had two parents, which left open the question of what educators are supposed to do in the face of reality.)

The Republican platform supports home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, early-college high schools, and vouchers. It does not mention support for public schools, except as a place where students should be permitted to pray. The platform also believes that military service is a better credential for teaching than any study or practice in a professional education program.

The platform does not acknowledge the growing body of evidence that vouchers and charters do not provide superior educations to poor children.

We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.

Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation.

We call for removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families, and restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation that close the opportunity door to all but a favored few. We will continue our fight for school choice until all parents can find good, safe schools for their children.

Education: A Chance for Every Child

Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity. That is why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces from outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have done immense damage. The federal government should not be a partner in that effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education. At the heart of the American Experiment lies the greatest political expression of human dignity: The self- evident truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing. We support a constitutional amendment to protect that right from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations. We reject a one- size-fits-all approach to education and support a broad range of choices for parents and children at the state and local level. We likewise repeat our long- standing opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it. Their education reform movement calls for choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of local control of our schools and it wisely sees consumer rights in education — choice — as the most important driving force for renewing education. It rejects excessive testing and “teaching to the test” and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs. Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education in which all students can reach their potential.

We applaud America’s great teachers, who should be protected against frivolous lawsuits and should be able to take reasonable actions to maintain discipline and order in the classroom. Administrators need flexibility to innovate and to hold accountable all those responsible for student performance. A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high school districts.

Rigid tenure systems should be replaced with a merit-based approach in order to attract the best talent to the classroom. All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.

Academic Excellence for All

Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education in which all students can reach their potential. Republicans are leading the effort to create it. Since 1965, the federal government, through more than 100 programs in the Department of Education, has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with little substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates. The United States spends an average of more than $12,000 per pupil per year in public schools, for a total of more than $620 billion. That represents more than 4 percent of GDP devoted to K-12 education in 2011-2012. Of that amount, federal spending amounted to more than $57 billion. Clearly, if money were the solution, our schools would be problem-free. More money alone does not necessarily equal better performance. After years of trial and error, we know the policies and methods that have actually made a difference in student advancement: Choice in education; building on the basics; STEM subjects and phonics; career and technical education; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, it must be a key element in our efforts to provide every child equal access and opportunity. We strongly encourage instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers.

Choice in Education

We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits. Empowering families to access the learning environments that will best help their children to realize their full potential is one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time. A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status. We propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them.

In sum, on the one hand enormous amounts of money are being spent for K-12 public education with overall results that do not justify that spending level. On the other hand, the common experience of families, teachers, and administrators forms the basis of what does work in education. In Congress and in the states, Republicans are bridging the gap between those two realities. Congressional Republicans are leading the way forward with major reform legislation advancing the concept of block grants and repealing numerous federal regulations which have interfered with state and local control of public schools. Their Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act — modernizing workforce programs, repealing mandates, and advancing employment for persons with disabilities — is now law. Their legislation to require transparency in unfunded mandates imposed upon our schools is advancing. Their D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program should be expanded as a model for the rest of the country. We deplore the efforts of Congressional Democrats and the current President to eliminate this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions.

To ensure that all students have access to the mainstream of American life, we support the English First approach and oppose divisive programs that limit students’ ability to advance in American society. We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs. The federal government has pushed states to collect and share vast amounts of personal student and family data, including the collection of social and emotional data. Much of this data is collected without parental consent or notice. This is wholly incompatible with the American Experiment and our inalienable rights.

We urge state education officials to promote the hiring of qualified veterans as teachers in our public schools. Their proven abilities and life experiences will make them more successful instructors and role models for students than would any teaching certification.

WA reader anonymously named Substitute Tracher posted this comment:

 

 

“The Broward County School Board chair at the Calvary Chapel. At 50:45 she says,

 

 

“God has really blessed me this year that a lot of my principals were transitioned out, and he filled those spots with new principals that were saved. Principals that loved the lord.”

 

 

Are we really allowed to have a criterion in public schools that principals have to be saved before giving them a job? Won’t need vouchers if that is the case.

 

 

Note: The previous pastor of this church resigned after it was disclosed he was committing adultery.

Lara Chapman has written a valuable analysis of the religious, libertarian case for school vouchers. Thank you, Laura, for doing this prodigious research for the benefit of everyone else.

 

Laura writes:

 

 

“Long post. The author of the Friedman Foundations for Educational Choice “research,” Dr. Greg Forster ends his report–titled “A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence On School Choice, Fourth Edition–with the following:
.
“Ultimately, the only way to make school reform work on a large scale is to break the government monopoly on schooling. The monopoly is not just one powerful obstacle to reform among many; it is what makes all the many obstacles as powerful as they are. The monopoly ensures that no meaningful accountability for performance can occur, except in rare cases as a result of Herculean efforts. The monopoly empowers a dense cluster of rapacious special interests resisting efforts to improve schools.

 

“Worst of all, the monopoly pushes out educational entrepreneurs who can reinvent schools from the ground up. Only a thriving marketplace that allows entrepreneurs to get the support they need by serving their clients better can produce sustainable innovation.
In any field of human endeavor—whether education, medicine, politics, art, religion, manufacturing, or anything else—entrepreneurs who want to strike out in new directions and do things radically differently need a client base.
….
“School choice has the potential to solve this problem by providing enough families (size) with enough dollars (strength) and enough choice (suffrage) to support educational entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, existing school choice programs fall short on all three dimensions. Only universal choice can open the door to the full-fledged revolution in schooling America needs in the new century. “ p. 36

 

 

“The author is preaching the gospel of the Friedman Foundation, but also a bit more. The author is a devoted believer in “universal choice,” evidently so religious schools can flourish and be tax-subsidized.

 

“I reach this conclusion from Forster’s discussion linking charters school programs to civic virtues and to religious values (pp. 30-31), and to his faculty position at Trinity International University a regionally accredited school operated by the Evangelical Free Church of America, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. His main job there seems to be serving as the director of the Oikonomia Network at the Center for Transformational Churches.

 

“The Oikonomia Network includes over 100 “theological educators theological educators and 18 evangelical seminaries” initially funded by the Kern Family Foundation. The network operations include a newsletter, website, network-wide events and “content creation.” The content creation includes “Theology that Works,” a paper written by Greg Forster that explains “how theology as a discipline can be in fruitful dialogue with the world of economic disciplines and activities.” More here. http://oikonomianetwork.org/economic-wisdom-project/

 

“Forster also has a faculty post at Acton University, where his bio says that he “has a Ph.D. with distinction in political philosophy from Yale University. He is the author of six books, most recently Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It.” http://university.acton.org/faculty/dr-greg-forsterhttp://oikonomianetwork.org/about/

 

“Acton University’s website opens with a display of one reason to sign up:

 

“Faith & Free Market Economics.”
“Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate philosophy, theology, business, development – with sound, market based, economics. “

 

“Acton University seems to be a holding company for lecturers who offer on-line courses and also appear in scheduled face-to-face sessions for people who pay fees to participate in four days of lecture-filled conferencing. A full list of “course lectures ” is here. http://university.acton.org/2016courses The lectures are available for purchase at http://shop.acton.org/acton-university-2010-to-2013-lecture-bundle.html

 

“The Win-Win report from political philosopher Greg Forster is written as if it is a comprehensive meta-analysis of credible empirical studies that offer irrefutable conclusions. The report is not that, but the casual reader looking for all of the charter school positives will be drawn to the pretense of scholarship and miss all of the wobbles and switcheroo’s between Forster’s criteria for the inclusion/exclusion of studies and his inferences based on these studies.

 

“The author’s identification of charters with religious values reminded me that Education Next surveys, conducted since 2007, have questions designed to provide marketing insights about the connections between a preference for charters and race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, political alliance, and much else.

 

“Here are the questions in the EdNext 2008 questions under the category of Religion, which mapped responses for people who said they were “born again” offering comparisons with responses from Public School Teachers, African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites. (I found no copyright on any of the Surveys)

 

“24. Do you think the public schools in your community generally promote the values that you think are most important, or do you think that the values emphasized at school often come into conflict with your own?

 

“25. In some public school districts, parents have requested that some time in each day be set aside for silent prayer and reflection. What do you think about this proposal?

 

“26. (Each respondent was randomly assigned to one of the following five questions):
“26A. How would you feel about a group of religious students organizing an after-school club at your local public school?
“26B. How would you feel about a group of Mormon students organizing an after-school club at your local public school?
“26C. How would you feel about a group of Muslim students organizing an after-school club at your local public school?
26D. How would you feel about a group of atheist students organizing an after-school club at your local public school?
“26E. How would you feel about a group of Evangelical students organizing an after-school club at your local public school?

 

 

“The 2014 and 2015 surveys had three (and ONLY three) questions about the respondents’ background.

 

“32. Apart from weddings and funerals, how often would you say that you attend religious services?

 

“33. Would you say that you have been born again or have had a born-again experience — that is, a turning point in your life when you committed yourself to Jesus Christ?

 

“34. Are you a member of a union or an employee association similar to a union? http://educationnext.org/files/2014ednextpoll.pdf

 

“The Education Next surveys are produced by Knowledge Networks, which specializes in “market research services, including survey design, information analysis, and data collection to produce syndicated reports and custom market research for a variety of FORTUNE 500 companies. Specializing in consumer research, it offers clients insight in such areas as advertising effectiveness, product development, segmentation, and media planning. Founded by Stanford researchers Douglas Rivers and Norman Nie in 1998, Knowledge Networks was acquired by global market research firm GfK in January 2012. “http://www.google.com/finance?cid=11462635

 

“About a week ago, (May 13, 2016) Peter Cunningham, whose Education Post has a partnership with the 74Million propaganda machine, cited an Education Next poll in a rant about needing to protect students from a bloated educational bureaucracy in Los Angeles.
https://www.the74million.org/article/does-lausd-want-to-protect-children-or-a-bloated-bureaucracy

 

“The Education Next surveys, like Greg Forster’s work parading as research, are designed and hyped to deliver propaganda and with a clear intent to tap veins of race-based and religious and ethnic prejudices. These are enlisted to rant against public schools, teachers, their unions, their salaries, the curriculum, and more. It is no accident that the Forster “study” has 14 reference citations from Education Next, and 50 others recycled from the Friedman Foundation.”

In this article, Jeff Bryant explains why vouchers are a terrible idea. After a quarter century of vouchers in Milwaukee, there is no evidence that students in voucher schools get higher test scores. But worse, most students who get vouchers use them in religious schools, violating the long established principle of separation of church and state.

 

Bryant writes:

 

“All research shows that most of the money voucher programs redirect from public schools to private institutions ends up going to religious schools. In D.C., 80 percent of voucher users attend religion-based private schools. North Carolina’s relatively new voucher program sends 93 percent of it money to “faith-based schools.”

 

“Due to voucher programs, in all their forms, “religious schools actually are receiving large amounts of government money,” David Berliner and Gene Glass explain in their book Myths & Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools.

 

“Berliner and Glass explain how, through various workarounds approved by ideologically driven courts, many states have reversed historical precedent to ensure the public is unwittingly funding religious-based instruction. In Arizona, a tuition tax credit program ensures that people and corporations who donate to a fund for private, mostly religious, schools can take that donation off their taxes, which decreases the amount of money the state has to spend on public services. In Ohio, government funds pay directly for parents’ tuition payments in private schools, most of which are religion-based. In New Jersey, the governor enjoys a special set-aside of $11 million for two religious schools in the state.

 

“In most of these cases, the majority of the students receiving voucher money were already previously enrolled in religious schools. So much for “opening promising new pathways” in the public school system.

 

“Voucher programs that redirect money to private religious schools are in clear violation of the federal Constitution’s establishment clause and state constitutions’ Blaine Amendment language, but the programs continue to proliferate and expand nevertheless.

 

“This Should Alarm Every American

 

“As Berliner and Glass explain, “Diversion of existing public schools resources to private schools results in taxpayer support for all kinds of religious instruction at all kinds of religious schools, with little or no oversight by states or the public.”

 

“That means public tax dollars are funding religion based curriculum that teach, for instance, a creationist view of science or a version of history that portrays slaves as happy servants to their masters.

 

“Curriculum materials that depict people of color in demeaning, stereotypical ways that have created such consternation in public schools can be readily adopted for private schools using vouchers. And how many schools getting voucher funding will choose a right-wing version of history that teaches the founders of the nation never intended the separation of church and state but sought instead to construct a Christian theocracy?

 

“Voucher proponents claim all of this is fine because parents have “made the choice.” But shouldn’t we have a choice about whether or not we fund this?”

 

 

A few days ago, in the midst of the discussion of the Tennessee legislation allowing mental health professionals to refuse to serve any patient if the patient was offensive to them on religious grounds, our daily commenter Duane Swacker informed us of a relatively new but fast-growing religion: the Pastafarians. This religion worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

 

Those who may have been inclined to scoff should stop their scoffing. A woman who identified as a Pastafarian just won the right to have her driver’s license photo taken with a colander on her head. That has some relationship to pasta, straining it, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

 

So far as I know the Pastafarians have not yet sought vouchers, but their branches in Arizona, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin certainly qualify to receive them.

 

Just when you get feeling really down about the way things are going in this country, you come across something like this, and it gives you a laugh and some hope for the future.

The Supreme Court of Colorado struck down the voucher program in Douglas County. It is unconstitutional, the justices said.

After a radical group won control of the public schools of Douglas County in Colorado, they enacted a plan for vouchers. Being a relatively affluent community, there was no baloney about “saving poor kids from failing schools.” The point was privatization of public funds intended for public schools.

Here is the story, as told by the nonpartisan group that brought the suit, called Taxpayers for Public Education.

Contact: Cindy Barnard
(303)905-3803

CO Supreme Court Strikes Down Vouchers

Douglas County Program Found to Violate State Constitution

“Denver, CO June 29, 2015) In a landmark legal decision today, the Colorado State Supreme Court struck down the Douglas County School District (DCSD) voucher program. In the case of Taxpayers for Public Education, et al., v. Douglas County School District, et al., the Court found that the program violates the Colorado Constitution.

“This is a great victory for public school children in Colorado,” said Cindy Barnard, President of Taxpayers for Public Education (TFPE), one of the plaintiffs in the case. “The DCSD voucher program took taxpayer funds, intended for public education, and used that money to pay for private school education for a few select students. The decision means that money set aside for public education in Colorado can only be used the way it was intended to be used- for the betterment of education in Colorado public schools.”

“In this groundbreaking case, Michael McCarthy and Colin Deihl of the Denver office of Faegre Baker Daniels represented Taxpayers for Public Education pro bono. Other plaintiffs and intervenors in the suit included children and parents of the Douglas County School District, Douglas County citizens and several local and national organizations that support a strong and vital public education system.

“As we celebrate this important victory, we have to continue to closely watch the leaders of the Douglas County School District as they look to implement other programs and methods to intentionally erode the quality of public education in their own district,” said Barnard.

“Details of the Court’s ruling can be found on the Taxpayer for Public Education website at taxpayersforpubliceducation.org. ”

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About Taxpayers for Public Education:
Taxpayers for Public Education, (TFPE), is a Colorado-based, bi-partisan, 501c4 organization. The members are Colorado taxpayers and parents of children enrolled in public schools. TFPE supports public education and believes that a strong public education system is instrumental in building and maintaining an extraordinary workforce that will keep American companies and American entrepreneurship viable and robust to meet the challenges in the years ahead.

For more information, please visit: http://www.taxpayersforpubliceducation.org.

Contact:

Cindy Barnard
President, Taxpayers for Public Education
(303) 905-3803
cindrabarnard@q.com

Anne Kleinkopf
Director, Taxpayers for Public Education
(720) 219-6253
annekleinkopf@msn.com

Michael McCarthy
Attorney, Faegre Baker Daniels
(303) 607-3670

Mason Barnard

Plaintiff/Former Douglas County Student

(303) 518 – 7939

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