Betsy DeVos continues her tour of charter schools, this time with our First Lady AND the Queen of Jordan to an all-girls charter school in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the Texas(!) state house voted no to sending state funds to private schools not even for poor kids. From the Houston Chronicle:
"The vote today sends a resounding message that schemes like vouchers, tax credits, savings programs, call it what you may, at the end of the day, it's a method in which it seeks to siphon away moneys from our public schools," said Herrero. "The House, with the vote today, strongly took a position in support of our public schools, our public school teachers."
The House then rejected a follow-up pitch to allow children from poor families to use such a program. The chamber voted that idea down 117-27.You might have missed it but the coalition group that challenged the latest charter school law is appealing to the Washington State Supreme Court. I'm not sure at this point that it's a good idea because of the lower court's ruling on the "ripeness" of the case but we'll just have to wait and see.
Speaking of private schools, the Times reprinted a "story" that read more like a press release on how personalized learning is saving some Catholic schools. (FYI, charter schools that are the major challengers to Catholic schools' enrollment.) The best part of the "story" comes at the end:
St. Therese also received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Disclosure: The Gates Foundation provides funding for The Seattle Times’ Education Lab project.)Oh, so not only did the Times not write the story, it appears to have been sponsored by the Gates Foundation.
Neil Gorsuch took the oath of office as the newest Supreme Court Justice (although there will always be an asterisk by his name, given the circumstances). The first case he will hear? From Teen Vogue:
On April 19, Gorsuch will participate in a case that deals with religious freedom – an important topic that could have a lasting effect on future cases. According to NBC, this particular case was brought about by a lawsuit from Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri. The church, wanting to improve its day care playground, asked for money from a state-funded program in order to replace the playground’s gravel surface with a softer, safer rubber material. Their application was denied because the state’s constitution prohibits taxpayers’ dollars from being used by religious groups.I'm sure this case does have many nuances but it would seem a private school is responsible for children's safety at school. I'm not sure how that infringes on anyone's religious rights.
As The New York Times points out, the case, depending upon its outcome, could influence the separation of church and state, which is undoubtedly a cornerstone of the United States’s democracy. Moreover, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether or not these restrictions on religious groups’ funding are an infringement upon their freedom of religion.
What's on your mind?