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Bayou Battle: Zack Kopplin Fights To Access Public Records On Louisiana’s ‘Science Act,’ Voucher Program

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.    

The People Speak: Parents With Children In School Say No To Vouchers

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.

‘Choice’ Charade: Religious School Leaders Want Your Money But Not Your Oversight

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.

Difficult Lesson: Ohio Teacher Firing Reminds Us That Religious Schools Play By Different Rules

By all accounts, Carla Hale was a dedicated and popular teacher who loved her job.

Yet when she showed up for work a few weeks ago, Hale was summoned into an administrator’s office and subjected to a grilling. Not long after that, she was summarily fired from her position at a Clintonville, Ohio, high school.

Profiting The Prophet?: Tenn. Legislators Fear Voucher Bill Will Subsidize Islamic Schools

Yesterday Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam abruptly pulled a private school voucher bill after some legislators refused to give him assurances that they would not try to alter the bill in ways Haslam does not support.

This is a good thing. Vouchers are a bad idea that distract from meaningful education reform.

But other voucher proposals are still pending in the legislature, so the issue is not dead in Tennessee.

The Year That Was: Major Church-State Developments From 2012

The end of the year is a time for lists. You’re probably seeing a lot of them – “25 Best Books of 2012,” “10 Overlooked Movies,” “What’s Hot and What’s Not” or whatever.

Along those lines, here’s a list of the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2012 (listed in no particular order):

Voucher Victory!: Louisiana Court Strikes Down Private School Aid Scheme

There’s good news from Louisiana for a change. A state court on Friday struck down Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ill-conceived voucher plan, saying it violates a provision of the Louisiana Constitution governing education funding.

The challenge to vouchers in Louisiana was not brought on church-state grounds. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.

Voucher Vortex: Tenn. Officials Being Sucked Into Controversy Over Private School Aid

Some Tennessee legislators are big on vouchers, and they prodded Gov. Bill Haslam to establish a nine-member task force to study tax subsidies for religious and other private schools. Unfortunately, its members have promptly blundered into a minefield.

Details can be messy things. The task force wrangled over questions such as accountability, how to ensure that students in voucher schools are getting a good education and how much vouchers should be worth.

Choice Charade: Lessons From Wisconsin’s Voucher ‘Experiment’

Advocates of private school vouchers often point to Wisconsin as a model. The state has had a voucher plan since the early 1990s. At first limited to secular private schools in the city of Milwaukee, the voucher scheme was later expanded to include religious institutions.

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