How Denver is a Glimpse at Florida’s Voucher Fight


From the AP:

DENVER (AP) — A Denver judge blocked Colorado’s first school voucher program Friday, calling the program to give parents in the state’s wealthiest countychecks for tuition at religious schools a “substantial disservice to the public
interest.”

Denver District Judge Michael Martinez sided with a group of parents, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and the group Americans United for
Separation of Church and State. They asked for an injunction blocking the”Choice Scholarship Pilot Program” in Douglas County.

The voucher opponents argued the program violates the separation of church
and state because it gives taxpayer money to parents for use at approved private
schools, including some religious schools.

The judge noted that some of the schools authorized for Douglas vouchers
require students to attend religious services. Martinez said the voucher program
“violates both financial and religious provisions set forth in the Colorado
constitution.”

The AP points out that the U Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of vouchers but that several states – like Florida – have overturned voucher initiatives “because they went further toward supporting religious institutions than their
state constitutions allowed.” Florida’s Blaine Amendment is one such protection.

Florida’s Republican dominated legislature seeks to change that with a ballot initiative to change the constitution.  The state’s teacher union has joined a lawsuit to stop it. Jeb Bush predictably demonized the state’s teachers saying that, ” making this about vouchers and educational choice, the teachers unions are again proving they care more about power than equipping Sunshine State students for success.”

Bush made a tactical error is opening his mouth as few are fooled anymore by his motivations. If Bush says it’s not about education and attempts to spin it otherwise – it’s clearly about education.

UPDATE: Implication of ruling unclear to Colorado officials

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About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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