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Monday, April 12, 2021

Private schools could end up with no public money if they press too hard

Private schools could end up with no public money if they press too hard
Could public money finance private-school discrimination, religion and fake history?
If states can't control what's taught with taxpayer money, the upshot could be ending charter schools and public funds for private tuition altogether.

With bills pending in more than 20 state legislatures to expand private school voucher programs, this spring could usher in the biggest transfer in funds from public schools to private schools in our nation’s history. But something more is at stake with this new round of voucher legislation: When the public pays for private schooling, will the public get to decide how taxpayer dollars are used in private settings, or will the public be forced to abandon norms as simple and fundamental as nondiscrimination?

The problem started last year when the Supreme Court held in Espinoza v. Montana that states cannot adopt blanket policies to exclude religious schools from voucher programs. The court left open the possibility that states could still place limits on what private schools do with the money. States might still prohibit them from using public money to teach religion or discriminate based on religion, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation and other protected classes.

But choice advocates argue these minimal requirements are unconstitutional, too. 

Satisfied slaves, divine intervention

This distinction is lost on a lot of states, which make no attempt to stop private schools from using public dollars to teach religion, discriminate or deliver curriculum that flies in the face of historical and scientific facts. Students in North CarolinaFlorida and Indiana have tried to use their vouchers at religious schools only to be turned away because they didn't fit the CONTINUE READING: Private schools could end up with no public money if they press too hard