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The Hard Truth About ‘School Choice’ That Trump Wants To Ignore

President Donald J. Trump visited a Catholic school in Orlando today for what has been described as a “listening session” on “school choice.” In other words, a rally for private school vouchers.

Trump, kids in school uniforms, and claims about widespread success of a government program may make for good political theater. But, “alternative facts” and anecdotes are a terrible basis for policy. The truth is that vouchers masquerading as “school choice” are a failure.

Fla. Supreme Court Won’t Permit Tax Credit Challenge

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that Americans Uni­ted and teachers’ unions don’t have the legal right to challenge a 15-year-old tax credit scholarship program that sends taxpayer money to private, often religious schools. 

The Florida Education Association (FEA), Americans Uni­ted and other groups argued that the voucher-like scholarships program violates the state constitution because it diverts public education money to private religious schools. But the Florida high court ruled that the groups that brought the case lack legal “standing” – that is, the right to sue.

Fla. County Official Sues Over Marriage Requirement

A former court specialist is suing the Broward County, Fla., Clerk of Courts Howard Forman for terminating her after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, a local Florida news station reports.

Yanicka Parker, who was employed by the Broward County Clerk’s Office for 12 years, is claiming religious discrimination in her lawsuit, Parker v. Forman, which was filed Sept. 16.  

Fla. Court Refuses To Allow Voucher Challenge To Move Forward

A Florida court in August rejected an appeal brought by Americans United and its allies challenging a school-voucher-like program that provides taxpayer support for religious organizations.

AU, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the Florida Education Association filed McCall v. Scott in August 2014 over a tuition tax credit program that offers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for donations to “scholarship funds” that pay tuition for students of private, mostly religious schools.

The First Temptation Of The Book Banners: Censorship

Sunday marks the beginning of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association and other groups that support the freedom to read, explore ideas and learn.

Not everyone is for that. Religious Right groups often spearhead censorship efforts seeking to remove material they deem “offensive” from public schools, libraries or even privately owned bookstores. Some ideas, it seems, are too dangerous to explore.

Fla. Folly: State Court Punts On Challenge To Program Offering Tax Credits For Donations To Religious School ‘Scholarship’ Funds

A Florida court just threw out an appeal brought by Americans United and its allies challenging a school-voucher-like program that provides taxpayer support for religious organizations. As disappointing as that outcome is, it’s doubly frustrating to see a second Sunshine State court fail to even consider the merits of the case.

In the Crosshairs: Fla. City Debates Future of Sectarian Symbol In Public Park

A cross displayed in a public park in Pensacola, Fla., isn’t a problem because it’s “simply there” and it’s like a tree.

I know. It doesn’t make sense. Yet those arguments were made recently by the Pensacola News-Journal after the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit to remove a Latin cross from Bayview Park. The suit, which the groups filed on behalf of four residents, argues that the display of a sectarian symbol on public land violates the First Amendment.

(Un)Fantastic Five: AU’s Protect Thy Neighbor Project Announces New Tool To Track Faux ‘Religious Freedom’ Bills

As state legislatures gather across the country to start their 2016 legislative sessions, Americans United’s Protect Thy Neighbor (PTN) project is gearing up to monitor and fight legislation that would allow individuals, businesses and government employees to harm others in the name of religion.

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