Thursday, January 8, 2015

Vouchers program violating Wisconsin Constitution, allows "sectarian instruction!"

I  thought this was an interesting line about public education in our state constitution:
"as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein."
There's nothing there okaying the funding of religious schools through vouchers, even if public schools are also an option. Our constitution does not allow religious instruction...at all, with taxpayer money.

Anyone else a little surprised? And yet in Wisconsin...well here's a headline from 2013:

And yet our constitution says "no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein." If it's public, no religion. Perhaps someone can answer how Wisconsin is getting around the state constitution. I'm just curious. Our incidental governor, who isn't swayed by polls or anything the public wants, has decided to expand vouchers despite mounting opposition: 


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What religion are those schools teaching?

orlin sellers

Democurmudgeon said...

Doesn't matter. Your point?

Anonymous said...

It matters if they aren't teaching a religion class. You have provided no evidence that they are.
If they are, I'm on your side, you just haven't shown me any tangible evidence.

orlin sellers

Democurmudgeon said...

Look into it, and I will present my case in the future. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I believe our beloved state Supreme Court dealt with this in the nineties . . . since the vouchers go to parents, who then give them to the schools, it's supposedly constitutional.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:15 said that "it matters if they aren't teaching a religion class"

I attended a parochial school for nine loooooooong years. Religion was infused into every subject area. reading, history, science, the whole gamut. That's the idea of having a religious school.

Anonymous said...

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in Jackson v. Benson (1998) ruled the Milwaukee voucher program did not violate the state constitution, overruling circuit and appeals court rulings. Here's the court summary of the ruling:

Teachers' union and civil rights organization sued state Superintendent of Public Instruction and Department of Public Instruction (DPI), challenging constitutionality of amended statutory school choice program. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Circuit Court, Dane County, Paul B. Higginbotham, J., granted plaintiffs' motion, and State officials appealed. The Court of Appeals, > 213 Wis.2d 1, 570 N.W.2d 407, affirmed, and State officials' petition for review was granted, > 215 Wis.2d 421, 576 N.W.2d 278. The Supreme Court, Donald W. Steinmetz, J., held that: (1) amended school choice program did not violate First Amendment establishment clause; (2) school choice program did not violate State Constitution's religious establishment provisions; (3) school choice program was not a constitutionally prohibited private or local bill; (4) school choice program did not violate State Constitution's school uniformity provision; (5) public purpose doctrine was not violated under school choice program; and (6) civil rights organization failed to establish school choice program was enacted with discriminatory intent required to maintain its facial equal protection claim.

Democurmudgeon said...

Thanks everyone for your great insights and recollections. One point that stands out: Yes, giving the money to parents appears to launder taxpayer dollars, so they can bypass the constitution. I remember now, that was the scheme.

Democurmudgeon said...

One more thing: This important part of the constitution appears to be all encompassing..."The legislature shall
provide by law for the establishment of district schools." Even private schools are in districts, and if a school is government approved in that district, then it doesn't matter where the money comes from. "No sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein," is a general rule if the taxpayer gets government money to spend. And why aren't parents limited in their use of taxpayer money?

Anonymous said...

The only way vouchers will end is if White Wisconsin gets a whiff of their tax money funding the education of little dark skinned children attending Islamic schools.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting patiently for an Islamic school to open and be part of the voucher program. Sooner or later it will happen.

Then . . . watch the fireworks!

Democurmudgeon said...

I'm with you on that, diverse religions would greatly test our hypocrite hate mongers.