On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released a study showing that students in the Washington, D.C., private school voucher program perform worse academically than students who are not in the program. Yet, just four days later, Congress released its budget deal, which includes language to renew the program through 2019.
The State of Alabama could soon give a megachurch its own police force – a move that many religious freedom advocates, including Americans United, have pointed out would not only be unprecedented but also unconstitutional.
Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.
The Department of Education just released a new study of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program. And the findings confirm what we’ve known for years: The program doesn’t improve students’ academic achievement. In fact, it has resulted in statistically significant negative impacts on student test scores.
My late father was drafted into the Army at the tail end of World War II. With action in Europe and the Pacific winding down, he was shipped to the emerging hotspot of Korea. He once told me a story about how chaplains on the transport ship would announce religious services: Catholics were told to go to one side of the boat and Protestants to the other.
“What about the soldiers who were neither?” I asked.
My dad shrugged. “I guess nobody thought about them.”
San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ivy Taylor recently shared some disturbing views – blaming systematic poverty on people’s lack of religiosity.
At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center, asked Taylor “What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?”
One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.
Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”
Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.
Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.
Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.
Oklahoma legislators are considering a bill that would undermine sound science education in public schools.