Class Warfare Blog

January 22, 2020

Further Thoughts on Public Funding of Religious Schools

Filed under: Culture,Education,Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:11 am
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One thing I thought of after my previous post on this topic was our experience with the State Lottery in California. As it was constructed 50% of the proceeds was to go to public education in the state, with the prize money and overhead to come out of the other 50%. Opponents to the lottery law said that “lottery funding will displace state funding and the schools will be back to square one with no net increase in funding.” Well, the law passed and lottery funding for schools was disbursed and . . . guess what happened.

I am also reminded that promises made by politicians mean absolutely nothing. Consider the promises made with regard to the recent Trump tax cuts. Our experience from the past told us that corporations would take the tax money saved and buy back their own stock with it, which would line the pockets of their stockholders and their executives who were being remunerated with stock options (who were responsible, btw, for making the decisions as to what to do with the windfall). The politicians promised instead: capital investment in productive capacity, higher wages, more jobs, better wages. Are you aware of what did happen? yes, it was stock buy-backs and none of those other things.

With regard to funding religious schools, what I hadn’t considered is what displacements would occur. If the funding from the public coffers replaced private tuition and contributions by the established religions, where does that money go that was being provided before? For the religious institutions, it goes back into their budgets so this is not direct support of a religion, but is one small step removed from that. It is a bank shot rather than a direct shot in the corner pocket. And believe you me, the parents who are no longer ponying up tuition to have their students educated at a religious school are going to receive a marketing campaign from their church like no other as to what to do with their “windfall gain” in prosperity.

One really needs to question the motivations of people sending their kids to a religious school when the options are public schools and secular private schools. Why a religious school when those other options are available for the same or even much less money? The quality of schooling might be an issue but that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. If the local public schools are ramshackle and underfunded, a private option if one can afford it seems reasonable, but why a religious school over a secular private school?

For those who argue that the religious schools aren’t really religious, why would those school not incorporate as secular schools and, what benefit would there be to have the religious label, other than to sucker believers into thinking your school is better when it isn’t or are they just trying to avoid the regulations that come with being a truly public school. (We created those regulations to make sure our kids were safe and receiving a decent education, not some red-tape factory like ALEC.)

So, this is a direct violation of the Constitution because state funds would be taking the place of funds provided by the religions or the religious for religious purposes.

I’m ag’in it.

15 Comments »

  1. As far as I’m aware, the purpose of religious schools is to prevent white Christian kids from learning about evolution or having any black friends.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by D.T. Nova — January 22, 2020 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  2. I can’t see how conservatives and conservative justices can justify this at all. Essentially it would mean I could be taxed to pay for somebody else’s religious education.

    But then the hypocrisy. I keep forgetting about that. At one point I thought conservatives actually had some principles even if I disagreed with them. I even thought Republicans would be lining up to impeach Trump back in 2016.

    At my age, I would have thought myself beyond getting fooled but apparently I wasn’t. I won’t get fooled again.

    Like

    Comment by James Cross — January 23, 2020 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  3. “One really needs to question the motivations of people sending their kids to a religious school when the options are public schools and secular private schools.”

    Where should I send a kid if I don’t want them to be taught their is no purpose or meaning in life?

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 7:17 am | Reply

    • Welcome back, John. I was thinking of you just yesterday!

      Re “Where should I send a kid if I don’t want them to be taught their is no purpose or meaning in life?” Show me a school curriculum, any school, any level, that (a) addresses the meaning/purpose of life at all and (b) teaches that there is no meaning or purpose to life. I’ll wait.

      On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 7:18 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 7:49 am | Reply

      • Do you think the worldview of individual teachers is irrelevant?

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        Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 7:58 am | Reply

        • Teachers do not go into teaching for the money or the fame or the perks. They also do not go into teaching because of their worldview. On display will be their attitudes about mindsets, working hard, the benefits of an education, hope for the future, etc. Their worldviews not so much.

          So, you consider dedicated teachers assisting students to shape a better future for themselves and their families is trumped by their worldview?

          On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 7:58 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 8:02 am | Reply

          • Do you think a religious teacher can stick strictly to curriculum and never let slip any of their ideology? I don’t.

            And I don’t think your atheist worldview went undetected by those students you were helping shape better futures for themselves. Kids are pretty smart.

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 8:08 am | Reply

            • How the heck would my worldview come up … in a chemistry class?

              On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 8:08 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 8:10 am | Reply

              • Did you ever talk to students outside of class? Did you ever say anything that wasn’t written in the curriculum?

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                Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 8:13 am | Reply

                • Sure. There were myriad topics to talk about but most of them were about the student’s lives, not mine. A favorite topic of mine when teaching college freshman was the change in perspective from high school to college and the change in what they thought was important (social relationships, cliques, group status, etc.). We talked about the weather, sports, music and almost never religion (and I am saying “almost never” but feeling “never” but my memory is insufficient to recall 40 years of conversations with students). And while philosophy was a love of mine it wasn’t a love of theirs, which is somewhat sad. Possibly they didn’t think philosophy applied to chemistry, I don’t know.

                  On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 8:13 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 8:43 am | Reply

                  • Well, there you go!
                    People send their kids to religious schools because teachers say things that aren’t part of the curriculum.

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                    Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 8:48 am | Reply

                    • John, John, John … what is the question most asked by high school and college students?

                      The question is “Is this going to be on the test?” If the topic isn’t it goes where all of the other nonsubstantive discussions they have in schools go … in one ear and out the other.

                      On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 8:48 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 8:51 am

                    • So your students didn’t pay any attention to what you said unless you told them it would be on the test. Fair enough.

                      My kids were smarter than the kids in your class.

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                      Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 8:53 am

                    • I gave my students a list of what they were to learn in the entire course on Day 1, include examples of test questions (and answers) that had been used to test those topics in the past. I considered the question “Will this be on the test?” a sign of a student who is not paying attention. General chemistry textbooks weigh several pounds and include way more information than one could learn in a four and a half month course. I had an older student one semester who basically aslked for an executive summary of the topic we were discussing. I thought that was reasonable, so I wrote one for the topic with the understanding that he would critique it for me. We did this throughout the entire semester and the next semester all of these “executive” summaries were amde available to all of the students.

                      If any one asked “Is this going to be on the test?” My stock answer was “Is it covered by one of the objectives?” (If yes, then yes. If no, then no.)

                      Asking students to figure it all out for themselves (how I was educated) is not treating students as if they were adults, which was a goal of mine.

                      On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 8:54 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by Steve Ruis — January 31, 2020 @ 9:27 am

                    • We educated our 4 children with a combination of home school, religious school, and public school. When any of them asked, “Will this be on the test?”, our stock answer was, “Can you tell me which bit of knowledge you won’t need in life?”

                      It is far more important to teach kids HOW to think rather than WHAT to think. By the time we sent our kids to public school, they were competent philosophers. They were quite capable of figuring it out for themselves if necessary.

                      Like

                      Comment by John Branyan — January 31, 2020 @ 9:54 am


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