Catholic Church, charter schools, Conservatives, GOP, Immigration, President Trump, President Ulysses Grant, private schools, Protestant Church, religion, religious schools, Republicans, schools, taxpayer funded, The Blaine Amendment
School vouchers are a campaign to steal money from the public school system and give it to parents to spend on private religious schools. It is born out of ignorance and racism in an attempt to take our country back to segregated schools. Schools consisting of well-financed white religious-based schools, and poorly funded minority public schools.
Nevada’s Illegal School Voucher Bill
In May of 2015, the Nevada conservatives won a major victory with a bill that stole money from the public school system and gave it to parents to use for alternate education, including school operated by religious organizations. The following month Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, whose children had attended a Catholic school, signed the bill into law, even though it clearly violated the Nevada Constitution that forbids taxpayer funding for a church-operated school.
Fortunately, the Nevada Supreme Court stepped in and nullified the law, ending conservative’s attempt to steal money meant to offer education for all, and redistribute it to those in favor of education for a privileged few.
Public School Evolution
Public schools were established in the early and mid-17th century to overcome the problems created by parent-based education. (SEE: The Atlantic October 2017 on Public Schools) Parent-based education limited the advancement of future generations to the ignorance of their mother and father, who were both working full-time to maintain needs of the entire family.
Unfortunately, the early public schools primarily served white males. Over the next two hundred years public schools were refined to; 1) become compulsory, 2) include female students, 3) promote women as teachers, 4) expand curriculum, and 5) ultimately require education regardless of race.
The Protestant Conflict
Ironically, most early public schools were influenced, if not run, by Protestants. Their beliefs included the idea that children should have a broad-based education. The problem arose when a flood of Catholic immigrants created a conflict in the public education of children. When public schools became battlegrounds of differing church doctrines, it caused pointless disruption of the goal of education for all. Ultimately, the issue was indirectly resolved by President Ulysses Grant and Congressman James Blaine.
President Grant called for an amendment to the United States Constitution to forever separate church and state interests in education and forbidding public money to be spent on private schools. Congressman Blaine sponsored a bill to do exactly that and it passed in the House of Representatives. The Senate; however, failed to pass it by a two-thirds majority and the bill died.
However, individual States passed amendments to their Constitutions and eventually all but ten States adopted Blaine-type laws.
A Return to Past Mistakes
The post-Blaine Amendments environment have been an era of astonishing success in elevating the education of United States citizens. In 1950, only 34% of adults in this country graduated from high school. By 2010, the number of high school graduates increased to 90%. The miracle is that the increase in high school graduates occurred during the same period when the nation’s population doubled.
Despite this success, conservatives have made public education their target (SEE: Slate.com November 2016 on Trump Gutting Public Schools) for three reasons. First, conservatives don’t believe in paying taxes, especially when the money doesn’t directly help them, nor their families.
Second, conservatives believe that public-funded secular, unbiased education is biased because it doesn’t promote their personal egocentric and/or religious beliefs.
Third, conservatives are overwhelmingly white, and the idea of paying for the education of another race is repugnant to many of them. They advance the ideas that education is wasted on minorities. It is noteworthy that white people demanded that schools be segregated in the south. When the courts ruled that schools must be desegregated, white people began characterizing public education as failures. That was the beginning of the push for alternative school choices.