Monday, June 17, 2024

In Case You Missed It – June 17, 2024

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

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"The expansion in voucher programs is part of a broader move in some states toward more government-sponsored religion inside public schools. New laws allow schools to hire chaplains for counseling…. In West Virginia, a new law allows teachers to discuss alternative theories to evolution. Seven states have passed measures mandating elective courses focused on the Bible… In Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court in April considered what would be an unprecedented step toward the mingling of church and state in education, weighing whether the state could directly fund what would be the nation’s first religious charter school." -- Washington Post writers, Laura Meckler and Michelle Boorstein quoted in Erasing the Line that Separates Church and State in Education


Erasing the Line that Separates Church and State in Education

The Indiana voucher plan is essentially a money laundering scheme for religious schools. The state supreme court claimed that since the tax money used for vouchers really belongs to the parents of children, there is no conflict between church and state. However, the parents don't see the money from the voucher. The so-called "money from the parent" goes directly from the state treasury to the private school.

From Jan Resseger
It has become acceptable for states to award tax funded tuition vouchers to private schools that teach religious doctrine. In recent decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has ignored the First Amendment Establishment Clause and declared that if states permit private schools in general to accept state funded tuition vouchers, the state’s exclusion of religious private schools would violate the free exercise of religion.

The shifting legal prioritization of the Free Exercise Clause over the Establishment Clause has not happened by accident. Activists have worked with far-right legal firms to bring a succession of legal challenges, with each lawsuit designed to shift the Supreme Court’s interpretation a little farther away from protecting the separation of religion and government. In an earlier report this spring, Meckler laid out some of this history: “In recent years, religious activists have succeeded in tearing down what had been a clear delineation between public funding and religious education. In three (of the most recent) significant rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court found that religious institutions may not be excluded from taxpayer-funded programs that were available to others. In a 2017 case, the high court ruled that a church-run preschool in Missouri was entitled to a state grant that funded playgrounds. In 2020, the court ruled that Montana… include religious schools in a program giving tax incentives for supporting private-school tuition scholarships. And last year, the court said that a Maine voucher program that sent rural students to private high schools had to be open to religious schools.”

Peter Greene: Putting Chaplains in Schools is a Very Bad Idea

The current majority on the Supreme Court seems to deny that the First Amendment contains an "Establishment Clause."

From Diane Ravitch
Peter Greene describes the new movement to place chaplains in schools to act as mental health counselors. The politicians behind this demand want Protestant evangelical chaplains, no doubt, but the schools will have requests for all sorts of religions. Not only from the myriad Protestant sects, but from Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Unitarians, Buddhists, Hindus, and many others. There would certainly be a need for three Jewish chaplains: Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. And every other religion will have divisions that must be addressed. Will there also be mental health counselors for kids who don’t want a chaplain?


All Charter District Opens Public School

Just because you went to school doesn't mean you know how to teach. Just because your community had a school doesn't mean that you know how to run a school. There is a reason that educators are trained in schools of education.

From Tom Ultican at Tultican
Desires of New Orleans residents were ignored. Neoliberal billionaires were in charge. In all the excitement, few noticed that these oligarchs had no understanding of how public education functions. They threw away 200 years of public school development and replaced it with an experiment. The mostly black residents in the city were stripped of their rights.

Thousands of experienced black educators were fired and replaced by mostly white Teach For America teachers with 5 weeks of training. Instead of stable public schools, people were forced into unstable charter schools. Instead of professional administration, market forces drove the bus!

Clearly, the all charter school system is a failure.


Whose Money Follows The Child?

"...everyone in the country benefits from sharing space with educated co-workers, neighbors, and pretty much everyone else we have to deal with. Everyone shares the cost..." Everyone reaps the benefit.

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
The suggestion that vouchers are simply a means of giving parents back their own money to spend on education as they see fit--that's absurd. Our entire public education system is funded on the theory that everyone in the country benefits from sharing space with educated co-workers, neighbors, and pretty much everyone else we have to deal with. Everyone shares the cost.

It's odd that so much of the voucher crowd is also the "taxation is theft" crowd, because voucher funding requires the voucher holders to take tax dollars from their neighbors while stripping those neighbors of any say in the kind of education those dollars will be spent on. That includes spending my neighbor's tax dollars on a school that would forbit, bar, eject, and demonize those neighbors and their children.

Your money should follow my child.

"Just give us back our tax money, and I'll get my kids the education I want and everyone else can get the kind of education they want," is top-grade bullshit. The only people who it even sort of works for is the folks living in very expensive houses. For everyone else, the end result is some kind of lower tier cheap crappy school--or getting your neighbors to chip in.

Your money should follow my child.

Or maybe we could pool all our money and set up a system to take care of all the children.


Fort Wayne Community Schools board begins interviews to fill vacancy

Rohli Booker gave up her seat on the FWCS school board to claim a City Council seat. The FWCS board is interviewing for her replacement.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Fort Wayne Community Schools board Tuesday began interviews with four candidates seeking to serve the remainder of former member Rohli Booker’s term.

Antonette Payne was the only applicant for the open District 4 seat to be publicly interviewed Tuesday night...

SACS board responds to questions about proposed superintendent contract

From 21 Alive
Southwest Allen County Schools is one of the largest districts in our area and the SACS Superintendent is a high-profile job.

Tuesday night, leaders moved one step closer to filling that critical position.
**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is essential; one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information, go to [NOTE: NEIFPE has no financial ties to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.


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