Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LILY ESKELSEN GARCÍA: The Supreme Court just let a church use public funds to fix its playground. Will this shift public education’s terrain? - The Hechinger Report

OPINION: The Supreme Court just let a church use public funds to fix its playground. Will this shift public education’s terrain? - The Hechinger Report:

OPINION: The Supreme Court just let a church use public funds to fix its playground. Will this shift public education’s terrain?
Here’s why the ruling in favor of Trinity Lutheran may not be a green light for vouchers




hen the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in 2016 to hear arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, school voucher advocates saw an opportunity.
The case actually revolved around the specific question of whether the state of Missouri could refuse a grant to resurface a playground to a church solely due to the fact that the church is a religious institution.
But a broad enough ruling in favor of the church could dismantle so-called “no aid” provisions that states have enacted to ensure that state resources for public schools were not diverted to private religious institutions. This was the invitation voucher proponents made to the nine justices.
On Monday, the court turned down the offer.
In a 7-2 ruling, the justices ruled that while Missouri could not refuse a playground grant to a church solely due to the fact that the church is a religious institution, the court was not “address[ing] religious uses of funding or other forms of discrimination.” In other words, the ruling was not a green light for school vouchers.
Educators and parents across the country should applaud the court’s refusal to place in doubt decades of precedents enforcing state constitutional protections of our public schools.
It doesn’t matter how their backers try to disguise them — “education savings accounts,” “tuition tax credits,” “opportunity scholarships” — vouchers are a destructive and misguided program that take scarce funding away from public schools, where 90 percent of America’s students attend, and give it to private schools that are unaccountable to the public.
Unlike public schools, private schools have almost complete autonomy with regard to how they operate: who they teach, what they teach, how they teach, how — if at all — they measure student achievement, OPINION: The Supreme Court just let a church use public funds to fix its playground. Will this shift public education’s terrain? - The Hechinger Report:

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