The greatest difference between now and 1964, when I began teaching, is that public policy has pretty much eradicated the dream of Martin Luther King. In fact, the public schools today are every bit as segregated as they were in 1964.
As criticism of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina continues, praise of faith-based groups that have responded is providing new momentum in a campaign to expand federal funding of religious social services.
The Florida Supreme Court has overturned that state’s school-voucher program, saying it violates the Florida Constitution. But the court’s decision January 5 did not address whether state money for parochial schools violates Florida’s religious freedom laws.
A state appeals court upheld in mid-August a lower court’s ruling that Florida’s school-voucher program violates the state constitution because it allows government-funded scholarships to be spent at religious schools.
Colorado’s highest court has ruled unconstitutional a state law that would have set up a school-voucher program, including religious and other private schools. On a 4-3 vote, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled June 28 that the state’s law violated a state constitutional provision regarding local school boards’ control over educational instruction in their districts.
Imagine a state-run voucher program that allows parents to use their vouchers at any public or private school—a Montessori-style school, say, or a John Dewey–inspired “progressive” school, or an avowedly atheistic school, or a Catholic or Jewish school. Would such a program, by including religious as well as secular schools, constitute an illegal establishment of religion?
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