Revisiting the School Vouchers Debate
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 12:43:57 PM EST
This weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at the PA Progressive Summit 2012 in Philadelphia.  I will soon post a summary of my presentation including links to websites, video, and other media.  Meanwhile, this post includes a list of links to previous articles and media on a topic of concern to many of the participants of the summit - the national pro-privatization of schools movement, and its efforts to promote school vouchers in Pennsylvania and other states.
Legislation has been temporarily halted in Pennsylvania with a vote against a school voucher bill this past December, but the issue is ongoing in states around the nation. Pennsylvania is currently second in the nation after Florida in public dollars spent and numbers of students in  another type of "school choice" program funded through corporate tax credit programs.  Many of these publicly-funded Pennsylvania and Florida students are attending private religious schools using A Beka and Bob Jones University textbook series that include: attacks on Roman Catholicism and non-Christian religions; revisionist history; promotion of young earth creationism; and rejection and mocking of evolution and global warming.

Links to previous articles and media:

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/4/20/232844/831
Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Styled Attack on PA Public Schools
This was the first article in a series on the national pro-voucher movement and is focused on the money and organizations behind the pro-voucher efforts in Pennsylvania including the Students First PAC and the Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/4/24/22559/1547
Pro-Voucher Astroturfing: Campaigns Across Nation Coordinated by DeVos, Funded by a Few Mega-Donors
Part Two in this series tracks millions of dollars contributed to American Federation for Childrens' Indiana PAC in 2010, and then distributed to pro-voucher efforts in several states.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/4/26/112152/230
Betsy DeVos Announces PA Governor Tom Corbett Will Keynote Pro-Voucher National Policy Summit
The article also includes information on the funding of media attacks against a PA Senator opposing the school vouchers bill.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/5/3/12515/58655
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled Out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
The article includes a short video clip from Dick DeVos' 2002 speech to the Heritage Foundation about pro-voucher strategy.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/5/10/212833/674/
Protesters Object to School Privatization Efforts of DeVos, Michelle Rhee and PA and WI Governors
This article was written following my participation in the protests outside the American Federation of Children conference in D.C., which featured Gov. Tom Corbett and Michelle Rhee as speakers. The article includes links to other sources of information on Pennsylvania's school voucher bill.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/5/16/123025/506
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
The Prince and DeVos families leading the national pro-privatization of schools effort are also promoting other privatization efforts and funding Religious Right entities.  

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/5/25/84149/9275
Vouchers/Tax Credits Funding Creationism, Revisionist History, Hostility Toward Other Religions
Through corporate tax credit programs in Pennsylvania, Florida, and other states, private schools are receiving public dollars.  Many of these schools are using A Beka and Bob Jones University textbook series, teaching Creationism and hostility toward Roman Catholicism and non-Christian religions.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/6/27/151131/081
Preview of "School Choice: Tax-Payer Funded Creationism, Bigotry and Bias"
A 34-minute video on Pennsylvania private schools receiving corporate tax credit funding while teaching from textbooks that promote creationism, revisionist history, and  hostility toward Roman Catholicism and non-Christian religions.  The article includes the full 34-minute  video and a 6-minute preview.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2012/1/6/14215/07913
Theocratic Libertarianism: Quotes from Gary North, Ludwig von Mises Institute Scholar
This is an indirectly related article with quotes from Christian Reconstructionist Gary North.  These quotes provide a background for understanding the Religious Right's arguments for ending public education.




Display:
that readers on this site go to Source Watch's list of state legislators who are members of ALEC and see if their Rep. or Sen. is on that list. It will tell you everything you need to know about what your state legislator is probably going to introduce as bills in your state. Charter schools, tuition tax credits (same as vouchers), anti-environmental regulations and a whole host of other corporate agenda items are written up in "model" bills that legislators just copy and paste, and then introduce.   The more people talk up ALEC and its corporate and wealthy foundation owners' monies flowing into all this, the better informed our citizens will be.

by monarchmom on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 09:52:16 AM EST

It just came out in the news this morning that the Florida legislature (the conservative faction keeps touting how they're for education and higher education) is making it far harder for adults to finish high school and/or get a GED.  They're putting barriers to taking the courses, including charging tuition.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20120215/NEWS/120219595/1338/new s00?Title=New-State-Legislation-Increases-Difficulty-For-Those-Se eking-Adult-Education-&tc=ar

Plus they're trying to destroy my school (University of South Florida) and create a new Polytechnic where (1) no tenure will be granted and (2) all faculty will be on year-by-year contracts.  They're really working to cut back funding for higher education, while at the same time giving more tax breaks for corporations - those corporations must deny employment to union members to get the new breaks.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20120214/POLITICS/120219625/1003 news00?Title=Republicans-Add-Anti-Union-Rider-To-Tax-Break-Bill- &tc=ar

http://www2.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/2012/feb/13/1/senate-plan- would-cut-usf-budget-a-devastating-58-ar-358274

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/usf-in-crosshairs-of-v endetta/1215292

http://www.usf.edu/budget2012/

Recent news articles also revealed greater support for "homeschooling", which in this state generally means dominionist brainwashing.  While they say one thing, the legislature's actions speak another - they keep cutting funding for education every year while talking about how an education is the path to a future.  They're also trying to privatize every aspect of services provided by the State (an attempt to privatize the prisons failed last night or this morning).  That attempt to privatize everything includes education.   All of these, of course, are dominionist goals.

What is scary is that people either don't see it, or worse, they think it's a good idea.


by ArchaeoBob on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 11:02:46 AM EST

Florida currently has the largest "school choice" program with a 175 million dollar corporate tax credit program.  Most of this is for sending students to private schools, and many of these schools use the A Beka and Bob Jones University textbook series.

The public funds involved will most likely increase dramatically if the "Florida Religious Freedom Amendment (8)" is passed in November.  This will remove the restrictions in the Florida Constitution which have prohibited the funding of school vouchers for religious schools.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 02:07:14 PM EST
Parent

I am waiting to hear about out-of-state colleges and universities turning down Florida students' homeschooling credits.

by NancyP on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:10:17 PM EST
Parent




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