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Charter school discrimination vote highlights absurdity of voucher law

School-vouchersThe North Carolina House voted yesterday to amend the state charter schools law to bar discrimination against children “with respect to any category protected under the United State Constitution or under federal law applicable to the states.” While the language was drawn hastily in the aftermath of Rep. Paul Stam’s embarrassing homophobic rant of the other day and would appear to include some potential wiggle room for creative bigots, it’s certainly a step forward.

That said, the House’s action (which still needs to be approved by the Senate and the Governor) serves to highlight another glaring problem in state education law — namely, the fact that the state’s new school voucher system not only allows such discrimination; it is based upon it.

As Raleigh’s News & Observer notes in an editorial this morning:

“The state’s new Opportunity Scholarship Program began this week and immediately showed why it shouldn’t begin at all.

More than 5,500 applicants named 440 private schools they hope to attend with the help of taxpayer dollars. Most of the applicants named a religious school as their first. Christian schools were the most common choice, but two of the top three named were Muslim schools.”

In other words, public education dollars will be going to directly to schools that do exactly what the House voted unanimously to bar for another set of publicly-funded schools yesterday — discriminate. One can attempt to prettify the whole thing by calling it “choice,” but it’s already been well-documented that, in addition to having religious tests (some even require a letter from one’s pastor), many of the voucher schools specifically reject LGBT children or those who have LGBT parents.

Unless and until lawmakers vote to bar discrimination by all schools that receive state education dollars, yesterday’s action should be branded for what it is: an inadequate and hypocritical half-measure

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/26/3967583/nc-voucher-schools-raise-constitutional.html#emlnl=Editorials#storylink=cpy

2 Comments

  1. James

    June 27, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Calling NC ACLU. Please report to the US Supreme Court.

  2. Iftikhar Ahmad

    June 28, 2014 at 6:37 am

    And what about the tax payers who WANT faith schools? Do they not count? Just because a majority of taxpayers might disagree with faith schools doesn’t mean that the minority who do want them should be ignored and their wishes disregarded. That simply isn’t fair. As a Muslim I want my children to have the benefit of a Islam-centred education; however I cannot afford a private education. Why must my children be forced to have a certain type of (secular) education because of this? State-run schools should provide for everybody, the majority and the minority. Parental choice is a cornerstone of our education system; families and parents having a school which has a faith-based ethos is one of the choices they opt for, and that should be available.” It infuriates me that the Guardian is suggesting that the atheist section of society should be allowed to force their views and systems on the religious sections of society. Why should one group’s opinion take precedence? Faith schools make educational provision which would otherwise have to be met by the state. It is reasonable to expect the state to contribute towards their running costs.

    You better teach your children in your own schools and let migrant communities teach their children according to their needs and demands. British Establishment and society should concentrate on the evils of their own society and stop trying to change the way of life of Muslims. Muslim community does not want to integrate with the British society, indulging in incivility, anti-social behaviour, drug and knife culture, binge drinking, teenage pregnancies and abortion. Prince Charles, while visiting the first grant maintained Muslim school in north London, said that the pupils would be the future ambassadors of Islam. But what about thousands of others, who attend state schools deemed to be “sink schools”? In education, there should be a choice and at present it is denied to the Muslim community. In the late 80s and early 90s, when I floated the idea of Muslim community schools, I was declared a “school hijacker” by an editorial in the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. This clearly shows that the British media does not believe in choice and diversity in the field of education and has no respect for those who are different. Muslim schools, in spite of meager resources, have excelled to a further extent this year, with couple of schools achieving 100% A-C grades for five or more GCSEs. They beat well resourced state and independent schools in Birmingham and Hackney. Muslim schools are doing better because a majority of the teachers are Muslim. The pupils are not exposed to the pressures of racism, multiculturalism and bullying.

    It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

    Extremism, homophobia and anti-Semitism are nothing to do with Islamic teachings and beliefs. Islam does not teach that Jews and Christians are pigs and monkeys. The Policy Exchange Think-tank should concentrate on institutionally racist British schooling with chicken racist teachers. Muslim parents do not want their children with behaviour problems that include unprovoked aggression, promiscuity, violence, eating disorder, bullying and alcohol. According to ATL, teachers believe behaviour is worse than it was five years ago, with even five year olds being disrespectful, intimidating and violent. This is the true picture of British broken society and the Muslim community does not want to be integrated. The British government is again asking us, Muslims, to adopt the” British values” and to integrate fully into the British way of life. But many so called “British values” are not acceptable to us. We would like to confirm again that we practising Muslim believers will never ever adopt or integrate into all these “destructive and immoral values”.
    IA
    London School of Islamics Trust