Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Voucher programs steer tax dollars to private schools that teach creationism, intelligent design

Public schools are not legally allowed to teach creationism or intelligent design, but public tax dollars are going to private schools to teach those concepts. "Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies," Stephanie Simon reports for Politico. (Politico graphic: state voucher programs)

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Some 26 states are now considering enacting new voucher programs or expanding existing ones," Simon writes. "One concept that is gaining popularity, on the table in eight states: setting up individual bank accounts stocked with state funds that parents can spend not just on tuition but also on tutors or textbooks, both secular and religious. On Friday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the approach constitutional; lawmakers there are already working to broaden eligibility."

"Already, about 250,000 students take advantage of vouchers and tax-credit scholarships," Simone writes. "That’s just a fraction of the 55 million public school students in the U.S., but it’s up about 30 percent from 2010. Some states have built growth into their laws. In Florida, for instance, public subsidies are set to rise from $286 million this year to about $700 million in 2018 even without further legislative action, as long as demand remains high." Only one state, Wisconsin, had a voucher program in 1993, but last year 20 states had programs. (Read more)

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