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The Year That Was: Major Church-State Developments From 2012

The end of the year is a time for lists. You’re probably seeing a lot of them – “25 Best Books of 2012,” “10 Overlooked Movies,” “What’s Hot and What’s Not” or whatever.

Along those lines, here’s a list of the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2012 (listed in no particular order): Read more

Voucher Victory!: Louisiana Court Strikes Down Private School Aid Scheme

There’s good news from Louisiana for a change. A state court on Friday struck down Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ill-conceived voucher plan, saying it violates a provision of the Louisiana Constitution governing education funding.

The challenge to vouchers in Louisiana was not brought on church-state grounds. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. Read more

Voucher Vortex: Tenn. Officials Being Sucked Into Controversy Over Private School Aid

Some Tennessee legislators are big on vouchers, and they prodded Gov. Bill Haslam to establish a nine-member task force to study tax subsidies for religious and other private schools. Unfortunately, its members have promptly blundered into a minefield.

Details can be messy things. The task force wrangled over questions such as accountability, how to ensure that students in voucher schools are getting a good education and how much vouchers should be worth. Read more

Choice Charade: Lessons From Wisconsin’s Voucher ‘Experiment’

Advocates of private school vouchers often point to Wisconsin as a model. The state has had a voucher plan since the early 1990s. At first limited to secular private schools in the city of Milwaukee, the voucher scheme was later expanded to include religious institutions. Read more

School For Scandal: The Louisiana Voucher Plan Just Gets Worse And Worse – And Your State May Be Next

The ongoing disgrace that is the Louisiana voucher plan continues to scandalize. This is a pretty impressive feat, considering that the program hasn’t even been fully implemented yet.

“The Wall of Separation” has reported previously about how leaders of religious schools are using the taxpayer funds to increase enrollment and how some schools plan to teach creationism and other discredited ideas. Read more

Louisiana Revelation: School Voucher Funding – It’s Not Just For Christians Any More

A member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who eagerly supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to fund private schools has had an epiphany: Muslim schools might start getting taxpayer money!

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican who represents East Baton Rouge and Livingston, now says she wishes she hadn’t voted for the Jindal voucher bill.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” Hodges told the Livingston Parish News. Read more

Garden State Victory!: N.J. School Voucher Plan Derailed For This Year

With all of the hubbub over today’s ruling on health care at the Supreme Court, it’s easy for other stories to get overlooked. Here’s one from New Jersey that’s shouldn’t: Gov. Chris Christie has conceded that his school voucher plan is dead for this year.

Christie was asked about the matter during a recent town hall meeting in Mahwah. He said the bill was dead and blamed its derailment on Sheila Oliver, the state Assembly speaker, who Christie said refuses to move the bill. Read more

Educational Swamp: Lawsuits Target Louisiana’s New School Voucher Law

Americans United has been closely following developments in Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed a series of education bills, including a private school voucher plan, through the legislature.

Louisiana is in a heck of a fix. The state’s commitment to public education has always been lukewarm at best. Part of the problem is government officials have long been obsessed with finding ways to siphon money into the coffers of religious (mostly Catholic) schools. This goes all the way back to the days of Huey Long. Read more

Tax Trouble: What’s Wrong With The N.H. Voucher Bill

Yet another state has fallen under the sway of the voucher movement.

New Hampshire legislators have passed a backdoor plan that is catching on in some states. Under the scheme, businesses would be allowed to donate money to organizations that dole out vouchers and then get 85 percent of that money back in the form of a tax credit. Read more

Educational Swamp: Louisiana Governor Pushes Voucher Bills

Louisiana has an incredibly bad record when it comes to taxpayer aid to religious schools.

Back in the 1920s, Gov. Huey Long pushed a bill through the legislature giving textbooks to Catholic schools at taxpayer expense. The state has been the site of repeated efforts to siphon tax dollars away from public schools into the coffers of religious schools ever since. Read more

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