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FL vouchers send 30,000 students to over 1,000 private Florida schools..80 percent are religious. [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-10-10 06:35 PM
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FL vouchers send 30,000 students to over 1,000 private Florida schools..80 percent are religious.
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So much for keeping a wall between church and state.

This article is discussing Rick Scott's support of more vouchers for education, and it mentions how the Jeb Bush scholarship program was dismantled by the courts.

A state appeals court declared the vouchers unconstitutional because they violated a state ban on mixing church and state. Ducking that issue, the Florida Supreme Court said the vouchers weakened the quality of the states public schools.

Still, two other voucher programs remain: the McKay Scholarship program for disabled children and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program for poor children. The latter is primarily funded with corporate tax credits as well as credits for taxes on insurance. In return for providing the scholarship money, corporations receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits. The program sends more than 30,000 students to more than 1,000 private Florida schools, of which about 80 percent are religious.


Scott's voucher plan


And the tax money going to public schools will be reduced by about 31 million next year alone.

Hat tip to the website called NOT Waiting for Superman for reminding us who is behind the push to fund private religious schools with public taxpayer money.

The site refers to an article by the Arkansas Times called Who's your sugar daddy?

Many right-wing groups promote school vouchers, a way to get public money for church schools, but according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, "The undisputed sugar daddy in the world of voucher groups is the Walton Family Foundation. In fact, it's hard to imagine a voucher movement without the Walton clan."

Headquartered in Bentonville, as is Walmart, the Walton Family Foundation is operated by the heirs of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. An article in the September issue of Church & State, the publication of Americans United, says "the foundation dished out $175,490,114 in 2008. While much of the money went to community groups, universities and charitable organizations, a huge chunk went to pro-voucher organizations as well. The Alliance for School Choice, for example, got $2,231,880."

The Alliance for School Choice is a pro-voucher lobby group in Washington. Also located in Washington is the Black Alliance for Educational Options: "Formed by Howard Fuller at Marquette University, a Roman Catholic institution, the BAEO is a front group that purports to represent African Americans who are pro-voucher. Far from being grassroots-driven, the organization receives much of its funding from right-wing foundations, including the Walton Family Foundation, the John Olin Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In 2008, the BAEO received more than half of its funding, $2,050,000, from the Walton Family Foundation." The BAEO's annual budget is $3,838,229, according to the article.

A similar group is the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options. Based in Lake Worth, Fla., it seeks to mobilize the Latino community in support of vouchers. The council has a budget of just over $1 million, $200,000 of which came from the Walton Foundation.


Encouraging the poor, needy, disabled and minorities to go to private schools or charters with public tax money...I wonder at the reasoning behind that.

Americans United has some figures on the Walton Foundation contributions.

Numerous Groups Push For Public Funding Of Religious Schools

Whos behind the campaign for school vouchers? One thing is clear: Its not average Americans. Several national organizations promote voucher aid to religious and other private schools, but they rely for money on a handful of right-wing funders, led by the Walton Family Foundation. Here is a list of the major players. All budget figures are taken from publicly available documents and are from fiscal year 2008-2009 or calendar year 2008.

Walton Family Foundation
Headquarters: Bentonville, Ark.
Budget: $421,806,176
Description: The undisputed sugar daddy in the world of voucher groups is the Walton Family Foundation. In fact, its hard to imagine a voucher movement without the Walton clan. Operated by the heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, the foundation dished out $175,490,114 in 2008. While much of the money went to community groups, universities and charitable organizations, a huge chunk went to pro-voucher organizations as well. The Alliance for School Choice, for example, got $2,231,880.


Other top big players are The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

The Arkansas Times article further points out that the Walton Foundation also pushes for charter schools in the state, and goes on to show their further influence.

The Waltons and other super-rich Arkansans have for some time assailed the state's public schools and encouraged the formation of more charter schools. They're cheered on by the state's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, whose publisher, Walter Hussman, is another antagonist of public schools and teachers' unions. The Walton Family Foundation also has a senior officer, Naccaman Williams, in a place where he regularly influences school policy in Arkansas as chairman of the state Board of Education. He has said he sees no conflict in acting on school-choice matters the board considers.


The push for religious schools to get more public taxpayer money either as charters or in the form of vouchers....is really working well.

Catholic schools converting to charters to get taxpayer money to help them survive financially.

Two Catholic elementary schools in Indianapolis will convert to public charter schools and receive nearly $1 million in state funding, according to a plan that was recently authorized by city officials.

.."Just like schools in all the other states, the Indianapolis schools have agreed to stop religious instruction and remove religious symbols in order to receive the public funding. But for the first time, an archdiocese will retain control and continue to run the public school a move that makes church-state separationists more than a little nervous, to say the least.


And in Florida even more of them.

And so, the Archdiocese of Miami will begin its experiment with charter schools this fall. What was intended as a pilot program at one parish Corpus Christi in Wynwood will become, for financial reasons, the norm at seven more. Charters also will open in August where five other Catholic schools closed this June: Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Divine Providence in Sweetwater, St. Francis Xavier in Overtown, St. Stephen in Miramar and St. Clement in Fort Lauderdale.

A seventh charter will open at St. Malachy in Tamarac, which opted to close its school before its financial situation deteriorated further. And an eighth charter will open in Miami Gardens, in the building used by St. Monica School until it closed in May 2008.

Charter schools are free, funded by public dollars, so religion cannot be taught during the school day. Unlike traditional public schools, however, charter schools operate independently of the local school board and have more leeway in managing day-to-day operations.

Because the parishes are leasing their former school buildings to the charter schools, they are deriving income from the properties. The amount ranges between $150,000 and $350,000 this first year, depending on the size, capacity and condition of the facilities, according to Fernando Zulueta, president of Academica, a company that provides management and support services for most of the charter schools opening on archdiocesan properties.


I have noticed recently that there appears to be little concern even among Democrats that the barrier between religion and government is being broken down so easily in the field of education.
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