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

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.

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