By Tony Farkas
Among the other cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court recently, one that was central to Maine could have far-reaching effects in all other states.
In a nutshell, the court decided that Maine must make public funds available for religious schools. The state had a program by which money from a tuition program could be used for private education in towns without public education.
However, their law excluded Christian organizations, because of some nonsense about excluding the gender-fluid or homosexual students or staff, and promoting one religion. The program offers up to $12,000 per student in tuition.
The question then becomes this: Why was it necessary to take this through the court system for years?
From the state’s point of view, it was maintaining the separation of church and state that codified into the Constitution; that’s not what the First Amendment says, though.
Aside from that, I’m thinking that there’s a misguided need for the state, and by extension the feds, to keep its iron grip on schools. You know, control.
I’ve touched on it before, in that the way I read the First Amendment, it says Congress shall make no law creating a national religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof …, which to me is pretty clear. Congress wasn’t involved with this, but it seems to me that excluding Christian schools from benefitting from government largesse because of their beliefs is exclusionary.
More often than not, states defer to the federal government, particularly taking its marching orders from Washington, D.C., with respect to education. That also factors into this, and that’s even more puzzling than the stance regarding religion.
There isn’t any codicil in the Constitution that has anything to do with education. It wasn’t until the Carter administration that the Department of Education was a thing. President Carter elevated it to Cabinet status.
So then here’s even more questions: What does the federal government have to do with teaching? Why is it necessary for them to be involved at all? Having states involved is acceptable in that the way our government is set up, states are supposed to have the most power, but the question is apropos for them as well. Why does there need to be so many layers of administration and meddling with education funds?
Does all this state and federal meddling make local school boards unnecessary, since they have to dance to the tunes of the politicians in order to receive the necessary funding to educate their charges?
Government aside, what was the point of dictating how money is to be spent, to the point of forcing children into schools that are unacceptable to the parents? Because anyone that feels that a state’s right to dictate how tax funds is more important than the proper education of a child has some flaws in their logic.
See, those parents are the ones who are paying the tax funds for education, and ultimately, the state, the feds, even the county boards need to defer to the wishes of the parent on what is best for their children, especially in the realm of education.
The students are the reason, the only reason, for any of this, and trading away their future to meet arbitrary rules is never an option.