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.
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.
The New York Times recently ran a story about researchers being surprised by the “dismal” results school voucher programs have so far produced.
As The Times notes, “[A] wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling – the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.”
Some good news out of Ohio: One of its public school districts recently announced that creationism and other region-based ideas will not be taught in science classes.
Starting now, by order of Youngstown Schools Chief Executive Officer Crish Mohip, science curricula in Youngstown must follow the 344-page science standards developed by the Ohio Department of Education. Those standards do not include any religious dogma.
An Ohio judge who likes “creative sentencing” has ordered a Catholic man to attend Protestant church services rather than sending him to jail.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge William Mallory has a reputation for handing out unusual sentences – and this week he chose one for Jake Strotman that may be unconstitutional.
Apparently some creationists are so eager to advance their agenda that they will use just about any materials they can get their hands on – including a video made by a controversial evangelist in Turkey who collects young woman followers and has been accused of being a Holocaust denier.
A Columbus, Ohio, student has won first place in Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Student Essay Contest.
McKenzie Hartman, a senior at Metro Early College High School, earned a prize of $500 for her essay on why the separation of church of state is integral to preserving religious freedom in America’s pluralistic society.
Hartman’s winning essay will be printed in Church & State, Americans United’s membership magazine, in July, and Americans United sent her school $500 to be used for educational supplies.
An Ohio program designed to reduce the number of school drop-outs through mentoring is funneling most of the money to religious groups, a newspaper has reported.
The program, called Community Connectors, encourages religious and community groups to partner with public schools to provide services to at-risk students. When Gov. John Kasich announced the plan late in 2014, he stipulated that schools must have “faith-based” partners to qualify for the funding.