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Dad_Scaper December 7th, 2016 10:29 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
The problem, as I see it, is that *as a practical matter*, vouchers would lead in many communities to endorsements of one religion or another. I understand the reasoning of your argument: it is religion-neutral when a voucher can be used for anything. I disagree with you, but that's a trickier discussion and I don't think we have to go there. After all, in this world, in the real world, *as applied* these vouchers would very very often advance one or possibly two faiths in any given community.

That violates the Constitution. Not because vouchers say, on their faces, that they are for one faith or another, but because *as applied* they will be precisely that. What if, you say, a second faith becomes prominent in your community? It's a good question, and it happens. The answer is the same: vouchers that go to your local (Protestant?) school and to that other school - Muslims, in your example - fund the interests of those faiths above others, and thus it remains unconstitutional.

Ranior December 7th, 2016 11:21 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2124362)
The problem, as I see it, is that *as a practical matter*, vouchers would lead in many communities to endorsements of one religion or another. I understand the reasoning of your argument: it is religion-neutral when a voucher can be used for anything. I disagree with you, but that's a trickier discussion and I don't think we have to go there. After all, in this world, in the real world, *as applied* these vouchers would very very often advance one or possibly two faiths in any given community.

That violates the Constitution. Not because vouchers say, on their faces, that they are for one faith or another, but because *as applied* they will be precisely that. What if, you say, a second faith becomes prominent in your community? It's a good question, and it happens. The answer is the same: vouchers that go to your local (Protestant?) school and to that other school - Muslims, in your example - fund the interests of those faiths above others, and thus it remains unconstitutional.

As much as I'd like to agree with you on all of this, you may be surprised to find the supreme court has effectively already ruled on this.

The court ruled that the Cleveland school voucher program was constitutional as it offered true choice between private religion, secular private, or public schools. Now in Cleveland there was actually a secular private school as an option though, so I'm not so sure how that would be ruled for communities where vouchers could only be used on a religious school or the public one.

Overall it's a sticky issue. Frankly I wish no government money would go to religious schools, but I have a hard time deciding where personal beliefs compared to what the law should be are interacting here. I personally think that public dollars should be used to support secular education as that is in the interest of the state, where as funding religion is not. But should it strictly be against the law for public dollars to go to support religious schools? I'd like to think so but I frankly do not know enough about how all those programs work and what should or shouldn't be allowed based on the current laws.

Ranior December 7th, 2016 11:34 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by keglo (Post 2124337)
Quote:

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2124315)
If food stamps could be used to buy beer, you would not have any trouble seeing it for what it is. It would mean government funds were being used to buy beer for people. The fact that someone was given a voucher that bought the beer, and chose beer over milk, wouldn't change that.

Money is support. The fact that the money goes through an intermediary does not change how this is working. The government would be supporting religious institutions.

I do not think that your analogy works at all. It is not a choice of milk vs. beer. The government is giving vouchers for beer. It is ok if they spend that voucher on Budweiser. They just damn well better not spend it on Amish beer.

I'm not sure you know how food stamps work in the modern day?

His analogy works just fine. For at least the last decade, anyone that gets benefits through SNAP (which we commonly call food stamps) gets money loaded onto a debit card and they can use those funds at most grocery stores and some other places such as farmers markets and what not. The items they can purchase with those funds are typically limited to food items. Household products, pet foods, alcohol, and tobacco are generally prohibited.

The point being though is if for some reason Beer were allowed, say person X gets 100 dollars a month loaded onto their card. If they go to the store and spend that money that is supposed to be for food and purchases beer there would be no difficulty in seeing it as government money buying this person alcohol.

From what I understand of vouchers, they basically would be government funding of religious schools. I don't actually know the laws that well, but it seems like this is actually legal. But either way as others have pointed out clearly it is government funding of religious schools. I personally feel that shouldn't be legal, but others probably do think it should be and it perhaps may actually be legal. I really don't know nor do I know how to really figure this stuff out. My cursory google searches aren't helping find any good article to actually lay out what I'm looking for.

Dad_Scaper December 7th, 2016 11:45 AM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Hmm. Well, Cleveland - or Baltimore, or San Antonio, or whatever - would be a much more interesting example, for Swamper's purposes. There a parent might have real choice. It's one thing to have such a program there, and another to have something universal, where a great many (most?) students would have none. "When to choose, there is but one, 'tis Hobson's Choice: Take that, or none."

That case brings up another thing, which is part of the reason why I'm not really worked up about the selection of Devos. Schools are controlled by local and state authorities, so I'm not really expecting a big sea change when it comes to vouchers. Like I've said earlier, I'm more concerned that Trump is appointing people who lack management & administrative experience, and (as some of you, I'm sure, know) that is a separate skill that

Ranior December 7th, 2016 12:09 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:


I have learned through this thread, and a different one, that I am far more conservative than most of you, and therefore realize that I'll not get much support in this, but I can't seem to help myself when it comes to looking at this thread, and then posting, even though I know I shouldn't. Why can't I stop!
I don't know why I can't stop either haha. I mean discussion is good though, even if it gets frustrating a times. Still I said I'd at least stop discussing the EC stuff, but I so want to continue replying to the rest of your points, but alas. I said I was going to leave it alone, and I should, so I'll resist the urge to reply to the rest of your post.

dok December 7th, 2016 12:31 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124367)
The court ruled that the Cleveland school voucher program was constitutional as it offered true choice between private religion, secular private, or public schools. Now in Cleveland there was actually a secular private school as an option though, so I'm not so sure how that would be ruled for communities where vouchers could only be used on a religious school or the public one.

Yeah, it seems like a "true choice" is the operative thing there. In a small community there simply isn't a true choice.

If Swamper or keglo would just say "I'm OK with the government funding religious schools", I'd simply point to these rulings, and we could agree to disagree about whether the ruling is a good one and/or what constitutes a "true choice". What's been frustrating is these arguments that a voucher program is *not* government funding of those schools, when it very plainly is.

Dad_Scaper December 7th, 2016 12:34 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124373)
Quote:


I have learned through this thread, and a different one, that I am far more conservative than most of you, and therefore realize that I'll not get much support in this, but I can't seem to help myself when it comes to looking at this thread, and then posting, even though I know I shouldn't. Why can't I stop!
I don't know why I can't stop either haha. I mean discussion is good though, even if it gets frustrating a times. Still I said I'd at least stop discussing the EC stuff, but I so want to continue replying to the rest of your points, but alas. I said I was going to leave it alone, and I should, so I'll resist the urge to reply to the rest of your post.

Why shouldn't a person want to participate? I don't think anyone's been abusive. I mean, if this thread is adding stress to your life, then put it down and walk away, but if not, then read and/or participate if you are moved to do so.

The stress is real, and this election was not easy for anybody, regardless of a person's beliefs. The transition continues to be divisive, with a parade of controversial characters on the main stage. Don't add to your stress load if you don't have to. But if we're not bothering you, and you are reading things here that interest you, then there's no need to stop. My 2 cents.

Aldin December 7th, 2016 02:01 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2124378)
What's been frustrating is these arguments that a voucher program is *not* government funding of those schools, when it very plainly is.

Okay, I'll bite.

With schooling, government is collecting money from everyone and redistributing it with the idea that it allows everyone's kids to get a fair shake educationally. Government isn't funding things so much as it is telling everyone that their contribution, whatever it may be, guarantees their kids an education that meets certain standards. Within that, choice is good. As long as a school meets the education standards there is no reason it should only be available to kids whose parents are sufficiently wealthy to not only chip in to the general system but to also fund a separate education for their kids.

Heck, I personally know dozens of people who went to religious private schools whose parents had no interest in the religious part of it being a private school but sent the kids there for the better education (and in some cases, additional structure). Why should we reserve those opportunities for only those with sufficient extra funds?

Essentially allowing people to "keep their kids' education money" and use it as they see fit within methods that satisfy national standards is most emphatically NOT government funding of religion.

~Aldin, choosingly

keglo December 7th, 2016 02:14 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2124378)
If Swamper or keglo would just say "I'm OK with the government funding religious schools", I'd simply point to these rulings, and we could agree to disagree about whether the ruling is a good one and/or what constitutes a "true choice". What's been frustrating is these arguments that a voucher program is *not* government funding of those schools, when it very plainly is.

Well you won't be getting me to say that because I completely disagree with you. You say it very plainly is the government funding those schools and I say it very clearly is not.

@Aldin said it better than I can. I agree with him.

Swamper December 7th, 2016 02:20 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dok (Post 2124378)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ranior (Post 2124367)
The court ruled that the Cleveland school voucher program was constitutional as it offered true choice between private religion, secular private, or public schools. Now in Cleveland there was actually a secular private school as an option though, so I'm not so sure how that would be ruled for communities where vouchers could only be used on a religious school or the public one.

Yeah, it seems like a "true choice" is the operative thing there. In a small community there simply isn't a true choice.

If Swamper or keglo would just say "I'm OK with the government funding religious schools", I'd simply point to these rulings, and we could agree to disagree about whether the ruling is a good one and/or what constitutes a "true choice". What's been frustrating is these arguments that a voucher program is *not* government funding of those schools, when it very plainly is.

I don't see how choosing between a private Christian school and a public school with vouchers is not a "true" choice. It's more choice than a lot of people currently have. If I;m poor and can't afford to send my kids to a private school, then I really have no choice. With vouchers, at least I have more choice than I did before.

dok December 7th, 2016 02:21 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Aldin, you are mostly making an argument for why government funding of religious schools can be a good thing, in that it provides more, sometimes (subjectively) better educational opportunities. That's a totally reasonable argument, and as I said, we could agree, or agree to disagree, or argue about whether this situation is qualitatively different when parents have a range of religious and non-religious options to choose from.

That's all good. There's an interesting discussion to be had there. (FWIW, a secular family that we are close with sent both of their daughters to preschool at the Jewish Community Center, because it was a good school. I get what you're saying.)

What that is not, though, is an argument that this does not constitute government funding of religious schools. I appreciate that you put "keep their kids' education money" in quotes, because it's, at best, a symbolic way of thinking about it. It's not your money, broadly speaking, that you are distributing. It's mostly the property taxes of a whole bunch of people who have no school-aged children. Those people don't get the choice to opt out of taxes and give their money to religious charities or whatever. Neither do parents.

As I noted with repeated analogies, we have no difficulty recognizing government funding of private enterprises for what it is when it's done in other contexts - including indirect ones like healthcare subsidies or food stamps. This is no different.

If the government gave all parents of school-aged children cash back, charged tuition for public schools, and said "you don't have to educate your kids - you can pay for public school, pay for private school, home school, or put your kids to work, your choice"... then that would be different. But that's not what they do. Childhood education is still a public good that you are guaranteed access to and cannot opt out of paying your share of, in the form of general taxation.

When you allow vouchers to be used for religious schools, then you are requiring all those parents of people who don't want to send their kids to a religious school, or indeed those who don't even have children, to pay taxes that end up funding religious schools. We can talk about whether that's a good thing or not, and that's all fine and good, but what it is is government funding of religious schools.

Swamper December 7th, 2016 02:24 PM

Re: Decision 2016
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper (Post 2124362)
The problem, as I see it, is that *as a practical matter*, vouchers would lead in many communities to endorsements of one religion or another. I understand the reasoning of your argument: it is religion-neutral when a voucher can be used for anything. I disagree with you, but that's a trickier discussion and I don't think we have to go there. After all, in this world, in the real world, *as applied* these vouchers would very very often advance one or possibly two faiths in any given community.

That violates the Constitution. Not because vouchers say, on their faces, that they are for one faith or another, but because *as applied* they will be precisely that. What if, you say, a second faith becomes prominent in your community? It's a good question, and it happens. The answer is the same: vouchers that go to your local (Protestant?) school and to that other school - Muslims, in your example - fund the interests of those faiths above others, and thus it remains unconstitutional.

I don't see the correlation between having a religious private school operating in a town and the town "endorsing" or advancing that particular religion. If there is enough demand for a Muslim or Hindu or even secular private school, it'll get built regardless of whether the town approves of it or not.


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