Church vs. State: Why?

church-414889_1280 This week’s rally against the FEA lawsuit brought out 10,000 people.  If those people lived in Ireland, many would change their views.  The Catholic Church runs almost all public schools in Ireland.  It’s in their constitution.  What does this mean for non-Catholics?

In today’s New York Times, there is a report of a growing movement to separate church and state.  Here’s why:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Students must be baptized to be admitted to public school.
  • Almost all public schools are run by the Catholic Church.
  • At least 1/2 hour per day is ‘devoted’ to religious training in Catholicism.
  • Students who are not Catholic are put at the end of long waiting lists to get into school.
  • Morning prayers and preparation for the sacraments are part of the day.
  • Non Catholics seldom have any alternative place in a school to go during religious instruction.
  •  While regular church attendance is down to 14% in Dublin, parents often submit to baptism requirements to be able to enroll their children in school.
  • Non Catholic parents face long school waiting lists and long commutes.

Irish law guarantees freedom of religion in public schools, but it also allows enrollment based on religious preference.  In reality, parents have little choice.

Florida’s system of choice moves the educational system toward exclusion and religious, racial, and socioeconomic segregation.  There is a lawsuit over this in Florida.  There is also one in Ireland.  Our founding fathers recognized this problem.

We need to reaffirm the need to keep church and state separate.  When the shoe is on the other foot, as in Ireland, it hurts.

Past State Board of Education Chair Says It is all about Money!

race-653241_1280Tax credit vouchers are supposed to give poor children an option out of a failing school.  Gary Chartrand, former Chair, Florida State Board of Education, tells it like it really is.

Chartrand makes a case that getting children from poor families out of public schools saves the rest of us money.  There may be another not so hidden agenda that Chartrand forgets to mention.

Continue reading

Florida Judge’s Decision “No Harm No Foul” Appealed

justiceWhen something is wrong, do you ignore it or fix it?  The Florida Education Association, the PTA and the Florida League of Women Voters said vouchers by any name are wrong and filed suit.  A Leon County circuit judge disallowed the suit for lack of standing.  Basically, this means that the attorneys did not convince the judge that tax credit scholarships harmed public schools.  Is this a no harm, no foul issue?  The FEA attorneys say ‘NO’.

The judge did not rule on the merits of the case.  Floridians  have already voted overwhelmingly to disallow funding for private schools.  Vouchers are not roses, and the smell of tax credit scholarships is not sweet.  The FEA has appealed the case.  What are the merits?

Continue reading

Private Schools Respond to Public Money

church and stateThis Orlando Sentinel article turns data into description.  How Florida’s tax credit scholarships and McKay vouchers for students with disabilities impacts private schools is the topic.

Some private schools operate solely on public money.  Others combine public scholarships and tuition.  Some do not take public money.

The rules for private schools are different.  Public accountability is limited.  Teachers do not need certification.  Academic achievement is mixed.  The Sentinel story has been excerpted below.  It is a side of the story worth telling.  What we do not know is if it is money well spent.

Continue reading