It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.
1. Greece, N.Y., prayer case argued before U.S. Supreme Court: An Americans United-sponsored lawsuit challenging legislative prayer in the city of Greece, N.Y., reached the Supreme Court.
It seems that every objective report on Louisiana’s ever-expanding school voucher program exposes serious problems, and the latest audits are no exception.
A federal report released before Christmas by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Louisiana’s voucher program has increased segregation in at least 15 public schools. According to the report, those schools would have been more racially integrated had some students not left because they received vouchers.
Washington, D.C., is home to the nation’s only federally funded private school voucher program. And it’s a mess.
It seems American’s taxpayers are on their way to spending $1 billion annually on vouchers and other so-called “school choice” programs. And just what, exactly, are those taxpayers getting for their money? Certainly not a better education for their children.
Americans United recently compiled an extensive report on all the problems with vouchers and offered a mountain of evidence to show that they just don’t work (you can read that report here).
Louisiana’s voucher program is in some real trouble thanks to a federal lawsuit alleging that the scheme hinders federally mandated desegregation in many school districts, but before answering to the U.S. Department of Justice, the state will have to deal with a 20-year-old who advocates for sound science education.
For years, anti-public school interest groups that favor privatization schemes have smacked their lips and salivated as they’ve contemplated the demise of public education.
But a funny thing happened: The people who actually rely on public education – America’s parents – aren’t buying it.
Supporters of private school “choice” – by which they mean their right to choose to pass the bill for private religious education to the taxpayer – believe they are on a roll. To some extent, they’re right.
In March, Indiana’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s voucher plan doesn’t violate a provision in the Indiana Constitution that bars tax aid to religion. In the wake of that ruling, legislators promptly approved an expansion of the program.