About those religious schools getting public funding….

Just last week the Daily Dawg reported on the SCOTUS case that will enable public funding to go to schools that are overtly religious in the State of Maine.  The Court held that Maine could not refuse to allow funds to go to certain schools simply because they are religious.  If Maine chooses to allow parents to use a state voucher at a private school, it has to allow those vouchers to go to private religious schools. 

But that’s not the end of it. The Attorney General of Maine has raised other concerns.  Some of the private religious schools discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Most (all?)  discriminate on the basis of disability.  Maine has a Human Rights Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of such factors.  Can the state establish that public funds may only go to institutions that commit to abiding by the Human Rights Act?

This may lead to further litigation. The Court’s opinion in the case from Maine repeatedly emphasizes that the private religious schools were excluded from the program solely because of their religious status.  The Court emphasized that the private religious schools met all other conditions to benefit from the program. 

As Texas legislators consider this issue, they should think about that.  If funding for private schools is to be made available, shouldn’t it be limited to those schools, religious or not, that will commit to accept students without regard to race, sex, gender identity, religion, or disability?  Do we want our hard-earned tax money to flow to organizations that discriminate on the basis of these factors? 


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com

Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!