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Voucher sins 

An interim committee of the Arkansas legislature will study the subject of school vouchers before the next regular legislative session convenes in January 2015. We recommend the lawmakers take a look at Georgia, among others.

Over the last four years, $170 million of Georgia taxpayers' money has been used to subsidize private schools, most of them church-related. That means taxpayers have been made to support religious beliefs they don't share, and may strongly oppose. In the name of "choice," they are denied choice.

And that is not the voucher schools' only sin. A recent study by the Southern Education Foundation found that 115 Georgia religious schools receiving state money have "draconian anti-gay policies and practices" in place. In these schools, students who are gay (or even perceived to be gay) can be immediately expelled, with no questions asked and no appeals process.

The author of the Foundation report says that tax money is being used to subsidize institutions that "punish, denounce and even demonize students in the name of religion solely because they are gay, state that they are homosexual, happen to have same-sex parents or guardians, or express support or tolerance for gay students at school, away from school or at home."

Presented with a bill to legalize vouchers in Arkansas, the legislature voted for the interim study instead. Even a little study, and a little sincerity, will lead to the unavoidable conclusion that church schools should be supported by church members. Baptists and Catholics and Muslims are welcome to evangelize in their own schools all they want, as long as they don't ask the rest of us to pay for their evangelism. That's unjust, and un-American.

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Speaking of School Vouchers

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    September 22, 2016
    The Walton attack on conventional public schools continues. They are spending heavily to lift a Massachusetts cap on charter schools and promoting a voucher program in Arkansas that turns out to be far more accessible than the sponsor intended. /more/
  • In praise of Diane Zook for questions on voucher program

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    Diane Zook, the state Board of Education member who's drawn criticism here before and will again for her zeal for charter schools and just about anything damaging to the Little Rock School District, distinguished herself at yesterday's Board meeting with questions about a new voucher program that will send taxpayer money to private, mostly religious schools. /more/
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    September 7, 2016
    Baker Kurrus, encouraged by an old friend, gave what may have been his first public speech since ending his time as Little Rock School District superintendent as part of a monthly program at the little Presbyterian Church I attend once and again. Sounds like he might have a future in politics. /more/
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    September 5, 2016
    A Walton Family Foundation-backed operation is overseeing a pilot school voucher program in Arkansas. Is it the camel's nose in the tent for a broader voucher program? Has it proved effective elsewhere? Will it be accountable. The view here is skeptical. /more/
  • School voucher bill filed by Rep. Bob Ballinger

    March 11, 2015
    Add a giveaway of state tax dollars to private schools as part of the agenda set by last-minute billing filings. /more/
  • Taxpayers fund creationism through voucher programs

    March 24, 2014
    Politico has produced a major report on the increasing use of publicly financed school voucher programs to send tax money to private schools that teach creationism. Arkansas isn't numbered in the movement — yet. /more/
  • Public education under attack

    July 23, 2013
    Tea Party influence drove the national show trial held yesterday and today in the Arkansas legislature over national educational standards adopted by 45 states known as the Common Core. /more/
  • ALEC's role in tearing down traditional public schools

    July 2, 2013
    The Washington Post details the pivotal role of the American Legislative Exchange Council in shaping legislation in Virginia detrimental to conventional public schools — funneling state money to home schoolers through "virtual school" management corporations and giving tax credits (essentially vouchers) for children to attend private schools. /more/
  • The fight for school 'choice' looks one-sided

    April 2, 2013
    Several complaints have arisen this morning that the House Education Committee, which is hearing several so-called "school choice" bills this morning, that only supporters of the bilsl are being allowed in the room. /more/
  • School vouchers don't work

    March 30, 2013
    You just have to follow Diane Ravitch if you live in this land of Stepford legislators who accept pronouncements from the Billionaire Boys Club school reform lobby as holy writ. /more/
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