Superior Court Judge Robert H. Hobgood issued an injunction against North Carolina’s school voucher law because it is likely that suits challenging this law will succeed on the merits.
In other words, Judge Hobgood saw what was behind Opportunity Scholarship Program’s curtain, as stated in the words of schools that would benefit from this law.
In short, North Carolina’s tax dollars would go to schools that discriminate based on religious and other grounds. According to the Charlotte Observer, most applications for vouchers are for religious based schools. The top choice upon voucher applicants is Raleigh Christian Academy. The school’s website says it offers a “truly Christian education” The school also requires parents and their children to sign a loyalty pledge to the Beacon Baptist church and the RCA that includes a doctrinal agreement.
We require that both parents and student(s) sign this form stating that they are in 100% agreement with our doctrinal positions. Those who would view these doctrines differently than the people of this church and church school are asked to seek a school that will more closely meet the needs of their families and reflect their faith.
The Greensboro Islamic Academy reportedly places restrictions on children with “emotional, behavioral and severe learning disabilities.”
The school’s application says it does not have programs available to meet those students’ needs.
If students who are admitted and are later found to have emotional, behavioral or severe learning disabilities they may be asked to leave, according to the application.
So what happens to children who have or are later found to have these disabilities? They can go back to a public school, but the private school still keeps the voucher money that supposedly was intended to pay for the excluded child’s tuition.
NC Policy Watch points to the statistically proven racist element of vouchers.
Surging enrollment in non-public schools was often concentrated in areas with high concentrations of African-American students, and the segregative legacy of these private schools and academies continues to this day:
Bertie County is 62% African American. Lawrence Academy was founded in Bertie County in 1968. Its student body is 98% white.
Halifax County is 53% African-American. Halifax Academy and Hobgood Academy were both founded in 1969. Halifax Academy is 98% white; Hobgood Academy is 95% white.
Hertford County is over 60% African-American. Ridgecroft School, founded in 1968, is 97% white.
Northampton County is 58% African-American, but Northeast Academy, established in 1966, is 99% white.
Dick Komer of the far right wing Institute for Justice who argued in defense of the law said he plans to appeal.
This law would have redistributed $10 million tax dollars from accountable public schools to unaccountable private religious, charter and home schools under the pretense that this was about providing access and choice to children from poor families. Yet access is limited on religious and racial grounds grounds and at least in some cases, children with certain types of disabilities are excluded.
None of these schools would have to meet curriculum guidelines, as is the case of schools in the public education system. As Rmuse pointed out, this means children will be left further behind in a high tech world because they teach Bible based “facts” instead of those that are proven scientifically or documented in history.
Bible-based facts such as “dinosaurs and humans co-existed on Earth; slave-masters treated their slaves well; the KKK fought the decline in morality by using the sign of the cross; and gay people have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.
Ultimately, laws like this violate the constitution’s establishment clause because they tear down the wall of separation between church and state. They force children to adhere to a specific religion and its doctrine and denies science or historical facts that contradict religious dogma. They force people who believe in the Founding Father’s constitution, vs. the one that religious extremists claim was written by God, to pay for it. Even if that wasn’t an issue, children sent to these schools will be left behind in a high tech world where science and facts are embraced as tools of invention and prosperity.
I wonder how many of the proponents of vouchers would send their kids to schools that leave their students without the most basic scientific knowledge and skills needed to survive and succeed in the 21st century.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.