Missouri: Legislature Likely to Pass a School Choice Bill, Despite State Constitution

Legislators in Missouri are about to pass an expansive school choice bill that paves the way for vouchers and privatization of public education.

Here is the language of the Missouri state constitution:

“Section 5. The proceeds of all certificates of indebtedness due the state school fund, and all moneys, bonds, lands, and other property belonging to or donated to any state fund for public school purposes, and the net proceeds of all sales of lands and other property and effects that may accrue to the state by escheat, shall be paid into the state treasury, and securely invested under the supervision of the state board of education, and sacredly preserved as a public school fund the annual income of which shall be faithfully appropriated for establishing and maintaining free public schools, and for no other uses or purposes whatsoever.

“Section 8. Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.”

But what does the constitution mean anyway when you want to put kids into private and religious schools with public funds?

NPR reports:

“A wide-ranging education bill is expected to make it through: one that would establish a tax credit program known as education savings accounts, or ESAs, which could be used by foster children, children with disabilities, and children of military personnel to enroll in private schools. It would also expand Missouri’s student transfer law, allowing students in unaccredited districts to attend a public school in another district, or go to a private nonreligious school, charter school or virtual school.

“Backers of the measure say that the bill, known as a “school choice” measure, allows parents to make the best choices for their kids. But opponents believe it’s a way to put public money toward private schools instead of better-funding public schools.”

However, the legislature is not likely to increase charters outside of St. Louis and Kansas City.

In Arizona, voucher supporters started with the same limitations and expanded the program bit by bit to extend vouchers to almost everyone.

Why should a detail like the state constitution get in the way?

from sarah http://ift.tt/2qvHykw


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