Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney together with ADF attorneys have filed a brief with the Colorado Court of Appeals in defense of a Douglas County voucher program that pays for students who attend “private school partners” rather than government-run schools.
Katherine Stewart at The Guardian: You can learn a lot about a policy idea by seeing who its friends are. Advocates of voucher programs include the activist organizations of the religious right, such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Focus on the Family, and the pro-creationism Discovery Institute.
American Federation for Children: Expanded school choice program, which could help thousands of families across the state, builds momentum for educational options nationwide.
NCPA Policy Digest: Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have either voucher systems or “scholarship” programs that provide tax benefits to individuals and businesses for contributions that help pay for students to attend private school.
Education News: “Budgets are about choices,” stated President Obama in recent remarks to governors about his massive fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the Administration’s priorities than Obama’s decision to once again place the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) on the chopping block while simultaneously growing the Department of Education’s (DOE) budget more than any other federal agency. In so doing, President Obama is showing low-income D.C. families that his priority is maintaining the unacceptable status quo . . .
NY Post: A powerful state lawmaker has proposed a new bill that would block the opening of new charter schools and limit educational options to parents and kids, critics charge.
HSLDA: If coverage by the Dayton Daily News and other media organizations is any indication, Ohio homeschoolers may face attempts to enact more intrusive home education laws.
Gary Palmer at the Alabama Policy Institute: By now practically everyone in Alabama has seen, heard or read something about public charter schools. Incredibly, most of what is out there is actually deliberate “misinformation” targeting what can be best described as simply increasing educational options for students. Naturally, the AEA is the driving force behind the campaign to discredit educational choice in Alabama.
David Kramer at LewRockwell.com: A number of associations around the world have expressed their outrage at this “Soviet-style” (it is Sweden, after all) tyranny. This number includes: the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Advocates International, the Network for Freedom in Education, the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, and the Christian Broadcasting Network (!!!).
Homeschool Heartbeat Radio: HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund and our Swedish attorneys hope that this signals a willingness by courts to at least look at this untenable situation for Swedish homeschoolers.
AP: Fights about using tax dollars to help make private schools more affordable are popping up around the country.
Education News: The Center for Education Reform, a major advocate for structural change in the US education system, has released its thirteenth annual analysis of laws countrywide.
Boston Globe: The bill sought to repeal a law that says only nonsectarian private schools are allowed to receive public funds for tuition purposes.
Peter Beinart at the Wall Street Journal: The evidence is clear that Jewish commitment stems from Jewish education, and by far the most effective purveyors of Jewish education are full-time Jewish schools.
One News Now: “With that in mind, the decision of the Supreme Court not to review this case is certainly regrettable, especially in light of the fact that the court’s already stated that the Bible may be constitutionally used in appropriate study of religion, history, ethics, and otherwise,” Cortman notes. [more]
Christian Post: “Every student deserves a quality education. Banning classical religious texts denies students the right to learn what they need to know about world history and the world in general,” stated Senior Counsel David Cortman. “For that reason, the decision of the Supreme Court not to review this case is regrettable, especially in light of the high court’s existing precedent stating that even ‘the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.’
MySanAntonio.com (AP): “When government officials ban the objective study of all religiously-themed texts — like the Bible, the Iliad, and the Odyssey — it does nothing but dumb-down public education,” said senior counsel David Cortman.
Education News: Alabama’s ‘Education Options Act’ moves through public committee hearings as Governor Bentley pushes his education reform agenda.
Education News: South Carolina seeks to expand charter schools and give all students, whether homeschooled or chartered, access to sports as traditionally educated children.
Seattle Q13 Fox News (includes video): Last week Gov. Christine Gregoire was livid with the senate Republicans and their three Democratic supporters for reintroducing this idea.
Wisconsin Rapid Tribune: The Alliance Defense Fund called the decision “regrettable” in a statement Monday.
“Every student deserves a quality education. Banning classical religious texts denies students the right to learn what they need to know about world history and the world in general. For that reason, the decision of the Supreme Court not to review this case is regrettable, especially in light of the high court’s existing precedent stating that even ‘the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.’
ssue(s): (1) Whether a state agency can ban the objective use of all materials it deems “religious” from public schools (including charter schools) and universities without First Amendment scrutiny. (2) Whether the state has either a valid educational interest or a mandate from the Establishment Clause to prohibit the objective use of all religious materials in a secular curriculum. (3) Whether “political subdivisions” are barred per se from suing their states in federal court regardless of their degree of independence or type of claim.
School Reform’s Establishment Turn: The Council on Foreign Relations endorses choice and competition
Wall Street Journal (access via Google): The Council on Foreign Relations is the clubhouse of America’s establishment, a land of pinstripe suits and typically polite, status-quo thinking. Yet today CFR will publish a report that examines the national-security impact of America’s broken education system—and prescribes school choice as a primary antidote. Do you believe in miracles?
Religion Clause Blog: The case involves claims by 12 plaintiffs that the voucher program violates state constitutional provisions that bar the use of tax funds for religious institutions and which require a general and uniform system of common schools. | Meredith v. Daniels
NCPA Policy Digest: One of the primary arguments made by opponents of school choice programs is that by allowing students to leave public schools, the fiscal security of those schools will inherently be made worse. In supporting this point, they emphasize that if a student leaves a school, many fixed costs still remain that will become more expensive per student, says Benjamin Scafidl, a fellow with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
Newark Post Online: The president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, Helen Foss, submitted a letter this week to Education Secretary Dr. Lillian Lowery asking that the Newark Charter School not be permitted to expand on the grounds of under representing minorities and low-income students due to its policy of not providing free and/or reduced price lunches to its students.
Brian Palmer at Slate: In his victory speech, he thanked his family, including the home-schooled children who have been traveling with him for at least a part of his nine-month campaign for the nomination. How many vacation days is a home-schooled child allowed to take?
American Federation for Children: The Wisconsin State Assembly late last night passed legislation that would create an expansive voucher program for children with special needs, bringing the first statewide, publicly funded private school choice program to Wisconsin’s special needs families.
Bluegrass Institute: Senate Bill 143 with a Senate Floor Amendment is on its way to the Kentucky House after winning approval in the Senate. This bill will allow parents to enroll their children, preschool through Grade 12, in another school district outside of the one where the family actually resides provided the parents transport the student to the gaining school.
LifeSiteNews: A leader in the Swedish homeschooling movement has fled the country, saying, “the safety of my family could no longer be guaranteed.”
Bloomberg: Governor Chris Christie said he expects to win passage of a limited school-voucher program this year, even as the state’s largest teachers union tries to block.
Washington Post: A Senate committee Thursday killed a bill that would allow Virginia’s tens of thousands of home-schooled students to play sports at their local high schools.
One News Now: Michael Donnelly of America’s Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is asking home schoolers in the homeland to contact Swedish officials and urge them to stop persecuting parents who are attempting to home school their children.
American Federation for Children: Governor Jan Brewer today signed legislation increasing the amount of maximum allowable donations to the state’s Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit Program, a move that is expected to increase access to the nation’s oldest scholarship tax credit program.
Ed News: You won’t believe latest intrusion by government. Homeschooling families will soon be forbidden from teaching that homosexual sex is sinful as part of their schooling program, according to the government of Alberta, Canada.
Washington Post: Scientologists say the “study technique” is non-religious. Critics of Scientology say that the materials use language important in Scientology’s religious teachings, and the program is a way to start indoctrinating young children into Scientology doctrine.
Baptist Press: The U.S.-based Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defense Fund have filed a brief in a Swedish court on behalf of the Himmelstrands. “Homeschooling is legal in the United States and in many other countries only after decades of tumultuous legislative and legal conflicts,” Michael Donnelly of HSLDA said.
American Federation for Children: Students enrolled in the Milwaukee voucher program are more likely to graduate from high school and go to college than their public school counterparts, boast significantly improved reading scores, represent a more diverse cross-section of the city, and are improving the results of traditional public school students, according to a comprehensive evaluation of the program released today.
LifeSiteNews: Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
American Federation for Children: The Georgia House of Representatives today passed legislation that would reinstate a crucial commission charged with authorizing charter schools, the first step in an effort by advocates of educational options to overturn a State Supreme Court decision that struck down the commission last year.
NJE3.org (includes video): Supporters of a bill to give scholarships to tens of thousands of students in failing public schools to attend private and parochial schools rallied on the Statehouse steps today, urging legislators to take action.
One News Now: Wyoming Senate File 44, which dealt with compulsory school attendance, had the potential of jailing and heavily fining parents who home school their children.
Slate Magazine: Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive—by which I mean, does homeschooling serve the interests not just of those who are doing it, but of society as a whole?
Education News: For the second time in just months, an attempt to assemble information such as names and addresses on all homeschool students in one Mississippi judicial district and provide those details to judges has been defeated . . .
HSLDA : Himmelstrand and his wife had homeschooled their three children for multiple years before authorities in the municipality where they live denied them permission in 2008. The Himmelstrands currently face fines in excess of $26,000 in U.S. currency for their choice to homeschool. HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of the family. | HSLDA press release at Christian Newswire
One News Now: Roger Kiska of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), who has been defending the Johansson family, points out that everything about Dominic’s education was legal. “Not only was home schooling legal at the time — it was limited, but it was legal — but Dominic fit into all of the circumstances in which it was legal,” he explains. “There was no evidence, no due process.”
Charter school teachers fear IRS rules change: A little-noticed proposed change in Internal Revenue Service regulations could have devastating effects for charter school teachers by making them ineligible for state retirement plans, and they could stand to lose much of the money that they already have accrued.
OneNewsNow.com: “That the government should have the right to take children away from their families simply for the act of home education — that is without due process, without any real evidence gathering — that is almost a military state power,” he contends.
A recent European Court of Human Rights ruling increases the pressure on Sweden to return a 10-year-old boy to his parents after the government abducted him from his parents nearly three years ago for being home-schooled.
Education News: A bill sponsored by California Assemblyman Tony Mendoza that makes it easier for school districts to block charter schools has passed through the Assembly.
American Federation for Children: The leader of New Jersey’s largest teachers union dismissed the plight of low-income families across the state who are in desperate need of high-quality educational choices, saying in a recent local television interview that “life’s not always fair” while arguing against giving expanded educational options to students trapped in failing schools.
Catholic News Agency (CNA): The “unique value” of Catholic education in Philadelphia is being threatened by a shortage of resources, and Pennsylvania Catholics should encourage their legislators to create vouchers to sustain them, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says.
Religion Clause: Authorities in Gothenburg have formally notified the Namdars that they will be fined the equivalent of $2400 (US) per week if they do not enroll their children in a Swedish school by Feb. 1.
Louisiana Federation for Children: The Louisiana Federation for Children today praised newly-released results of a recent parental satisfaction survey showing overwhelmingly high satisfaction rates from parents with children participating in the New Orleans voucher program.
Roger Kiska on the Hugh Hewitt Show: Swedish political leader says remove kids from parents who homeschool
Religion Clause: A trial court in Arizona’s Maricopa County yesterday rejected state constitutional challenges to the state’s “empowerment scholarship” program that makes school vouchers available to students with special needs so they can attend private or parochial schools.
Alliance for School Choice: More than 210,000 children are participating in publicly funded private school choice programs across the nation, according to the School Choice Yearbook 2011-12—the annual award-winning publication offering the most comprehensive data on the nation’s 27 private school choice programs—released today by the Alliance for School Choice.
Arkansas Human Services issues proposed rules barring use of tax money to teach religion | The Republic (AP)
The Republic (AP): Harris said he forwarded the proposed rules to his attorney, Joel Oster of the Alliance Defense Fund, and will decide how to proceed after consulting with him.
The New American: The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a U.S.-based conservative legal advocacy group, noted that Edholm’s recommendation comes at a time when home school families in Sweden are under severe assault. The ADF, in partnership with another U.S. group, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), has come to the legal aid of a Swedish home school family whose nine-year-old son was abducted by the Swedish government in 2009. According to an ADF press release, Swedish officials “seized the child because they believe home schooling is an inappropriate way to raise a child and insist the government should raise [him] instead, even though home-schooling was legal in Sweden at the time he was taken into custody.
Center for AZ Policy Foundations Blog: Moments ago, two school choice bills were passed by the Arizona State Senate by a vote of 19-9-1.
WorldNetDaily: The HSLDA also works with the Alliance Defense Fund to challenge such violations of parental rights. Roger Kiska, a European-based attorney working with the ADF, warned, “Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without government interference. Swedish policy on home education is at odds with recognized international legal standards that uphold the right of parents to direct the education of their children. Those standards include the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents, all of which recognize that parents have a fundamental right to choose what kind of education their children will receive.”
HSLDA: Roger Kiska is an ADF attorney stationed in Europe who has brought numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights on family issues, including homeschooling. He says that the European Court of Human Rights has not been particularly supportive of homeschoolers. “The ECHR is giving aid and comfort to Sweden’s repressive home education policies. But ECHR jurisprudence and Swedish, as well as German, policy on home education is at odds with recognized international legal standards that uphold the right of parents to direct the education of their children,” Kiska said. “The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents all recognize that parents of children have a fundamental right to choose what kind of education their children will receive. We are committed to working with HSLDA and others to vindicate this right. We will stand with families like the Johanssons and Himmelstrands until we win.”
Sweden Crushing Homeschoolers: Exorbitant Fines as Politicians Call for Gov’t to Seize Home-schooled Children
Christian Newswire: The Home School Legal Defense Association and Alliance Defense Fund and have applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of one family whose child was abducted by the government in 2009 and have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of another family fined an amount equivalent to $26,000.
Are school vouchers OK in Arizona?: Andrew F. Morrill, President of the Arizona Education Association, says S.B. 1553 violates our state constitution by diverting public funds to private schools.