The School Choice Myth and Our (Literal) Case Against It

Opportunity in education. Effective education options for every child. Stimulating educational environments. Every year at the end of January, the proponents of National School Choice Week emphasize these ideals as reasons that parents, educators, and policymakers should support school voucher and tax credit programs.

By appealing to the core aspirations for reform desired among the education community, the school choice movement masks the fact that these programs do not actually offer the benefits their supporters tout. Instead, voucher and tax credit programs typically funnel taxpayer funds into private and often religious schools that are free to discriminate against students on a variety of grounds and are exempt from meeting the same educational requirements as public schools.

In previous years, the ACLU has pointed out the significant and fundamental flaws of these programs. Beyond classroom material, private religious schools can and do discriminate, for example, by excluding students on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Unfortunately, parents and educators are still being sold on the school choice myth in 2016.

We are currently challenging Nevada’s newly established “Education Savings Account” program that takes public funds — which would otherwise go toward public schools that welcome all students and adhere to educational standards — and diverts them to vouchers for private-school tuition. As in many states with such programs, the majority of private schools are religious. That means the schools employ a wide variety of curricula, daily practices, and admission and hiring requirements not acceptable in public schools.

For example, in Nevada, Liberty Baptist Academy uses a textbook “based on the truth of God’s word” that refutes evolution and promotes the universe as a “direct creation of God.” Logos Christian Academy disciplines students with corporal punishment. Bishop Gorman High School may dismiss students if they have had an abortion or helped someone obtain one. International Christian Academy will reject or disenroll a student who is gay or bisexual. Many of these schools require religious worship from the students on a daily or weekly basis, can require parents to adhere to a statement of faith or attend the school’s church, and require certain beliefs and conduct from teachers.

Under the Nevada program, voucher money can also go toward non-instructional activities, such as purchasing Bibles or funding renovations for the school’s sponsoring church. This is not only bad policy, but, as we argue in our lawsuit, it also violates the Nevada Constitution. The state constitution specifically states that “[n]o public funds of any kind or character … shall be used for sectarian purpose.”

Parents have the right to send their children to a private school and to provide a religious education for them at their own expense. But taxpayers are not and should not be obligated to fund that decision.

During this School Choice Week, remember that true educational opportunity does not come from a program that takes public money to support schools that can discriminate and indoctrinate. It comes from a robust system of public schools that can provide a free, quality education to students from all religions and backgrounds.

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Anonymous

So taxpayer money should go to promote a religion? Do you agree on sending tax payer money to support Islamic and Hindi schools as well? Im sure you're ok with a school that teaches students Allah is the one true God and Jesus was one of the prophets, right?

Anonymous

Evolution is not so, and if you believe in evolution you have no common sense.

Anonymous

you are as lost as the "missing" link

Anonymous

OK, male and/or female commentator who posted “Evolution is not so, and if you believe in evolution you have no common sense.” for the time being I will refer to as an ANONYMOUS SHIT SELLER and HAS ABSOLUTELY no self-produced THOUGHTS or ASSHAT for short. Hi there how ya doin' get comfortable because upon reading this response you will want to find me, hunt me down and burn me at the stake(just so you know that was an initial religious burn(see what I just did there, if not, you're even more of a moron than I previously assumed.) you ASSHAT. Now down to business, if creationist logic actually worked for anything that didn't solely serve as a solve-all, cock-block for the Catholic/Christian churches problems believe me as a seeker of the TRUTH I would be the first person to point it out, but the only REAL evidence you have to support your claims is the bible and the only proof you have that the word contained in the bible can be taken with any thing more than a grain of salt is guess what THE BIBLE I don't know if you know what circular reasoning is but that is a perfectly wrapped jumbo jet sized example of circular reasoning( by the way here's the definition of circular reasoning "NOUN a use of reason in which the premises depends on or is equivalent to the conclusion, a method of false logic by which "this is used to prove that, and that is used to prove this"; also called circular logic."). So if the only way to validate the logic fueling creationism is the bible and the only way to see the bible itself as valid is to be a, let's all say it together in harmony, ASSHAT. Now tell me again who has no common sense?

Here's my email if you still think you can prove me wrong: comegetme(dot goes here)iamnosonofgod(at here)outlook(dot here)
I look forward to your challenge.

Anonymous

And if you don't believe in science, you're part of the reason why the US has slipped behind far too many nations in STEM education.

Anonymous

Interesting I write a comment and the All Loving Liberal ACLU must have found it so truthful they rejected. Sorry but these kind of groups like you are scared of the truth.

Anonymous

This coming from one who has no idea who the ACLU has defended is laughable

HumboldtRick

Nevada is one messed up state. The lawmakers in Nevada are ignorant of the Constitution or are actively breaking it. They have proven themselves to be fascist, anti-American TRAITORS and it is time they were treated as such.

Ben

Mississippi state politics is in complete control of the republican party. Their big legislative priority for 2016 is for "school choice". So far few specifics have come forward on this issue. I oppose tax money going to private or religious schools. Too much room for mismanagement. The Mississippi prison system went mostly private and the results have been disastrous. The former head of prisons, former state legislators, and their cronies have been convicted of fraud and will be sentenced to time in prison. I believe some things should be the responsibility of public sector and not private enterprise. One being K thru 12 education.

David

I can see why a person might think it's unfair that they can't take "their share" of public education taxes and spend it elsewhere. But that is a misunderstanding of what we're paying for. We're paying taxes not to educate our own child(ren) but to ensure an educated populace, a common social good. Childless people don't get to divert their share of education funding to some other cause just because they have no children in public schools. Public schools are required to educate *every* child, regardless of who they are, and that benefits everyone. The need to improve public education and address continuing inequalities is a separate issue.

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