Pastors for Texas Children, a pro-public education group, is warning that the creation of a “parallel private system of education” funded with tax dollars — through vouchers or other schemes — would violate the Texas Constitution and harm the religious schools proponents of such a system want to fund.

That warning came in a brief the group filed on Tuesday with the Texas Supreme Court, which just took up a major case on whether the state’s current system for funding public education meets constitutional requirements.

The Pastors of Texas Children brief follows a brief from a religious-right group, the Houston-based U.S. Pastor Council, which argued that the state’s failure to give taxpayer dollars to sectarian schools is evidence of an anti-religion bias and threatens religious freedom. Pastors for Texas Children flatly rejects such arguments, warning that such schemes would actually harm religious schools:

“The last thing our fine public schools need is more dollars drained away from them, and the last thing our fine private schools need is the government intervention and oversight that will inevitably and necessarily follow the public money they receive.”

The Pastors for Texas Children brief also notes the lack of evidence showing that students who use private school vouchers… Read More

Religious-righters are twisting and redefining “religious liberty” so much that the term itself is in danger of becoming almost meaningless. Fortunately, a growing number of mainstream religious leaders from around the state are calling out the nonsense. The latest battleground: public subsidies (such as vouchers) for religious schools.

The rabidly anti-gay, religious-right group Houston Area Pastor Council, which also goes by the name Texas Pastor Council and U.S. Pastor Council, is leading the effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). The group, led by one of Houston’s most vicious anti-gay activists, Dave Welch, claims that barring discrimination against people because of who they are or whom they love violates the religious freedom of people to, well, discriminate.

Then last week Welch’s group filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court arguing that the failure of the state to provide taxpayer funding to faith-based schools is also a violation of religious freedom. The brief is for a major court long-running case on whether the way Texas funds its public schools violates the state Constitution. The Pastor Council argues, in part:

The total and complete exclusion of religious providers from the public education system severely implicates religious liberty, whereas their inclusion clearly does not violate religious liberty or the Establishment Clause per… Read More

Today the Texas Senate mugged the state’s public schools and their millions of students by providing preliminary approval to a reckless private school voucher bill. But the debate revealed some dirty truths that voucher supporters would prefer folks not know about the bill.

Senators gave approval to Senate Bill 4 on second reading. SB 4 would give tax credits to wealthy interests that provide vouchers subsidizing tuition at private and religious schools. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement:

“Neighborhood public schools and the millions of Texas kids who attend them just got mugged on the floor of the Texas Senate. The Senate should have fully restored the billions of dollars this Legislature cut from our neighborhood schools just four years ago. But instead they gave preliminary approval to a reckless and unaccountable voucher scheme that provides tax breaks for wealthy interests that take funds from public education in order to subsidize private and religious schools. The Texas Legislature is charged with providing a quality education for every child in our state. It seems today our senators forgot their obligation.”

The Senate vote was 17-13 in favor of SB 4. Final passage requires a third reading, which will probably follow in the… Read More

As the Texas Senate prepares to take up a tax-credit voucher scam — as early as Tuesday — check out this video from the Southern Education Foundation. The Foundation’s three-minute video explains how direct vouchers and tax-credit vouchers undermine public education as tax dollars are siphoned off to private and religious schools.… Read More

Call your senator TODAY in opposition to this reckless raid on funding for neighborhood public schools. Click here to find the name and phone number for your senator.

Big moves behind the scenes tell us the Senate could take up a massive private school voucher bill this week. It’s critical that you call your senator TODAY and express your strong opposition to Senate Bill 4.

SB 4 gives tax breaks to wealthy interests that fund voucher “scholarships” at private and religious schools. An independent analysis has shown that the bill’s backers are dramatically underestimating the cost of this tax-credit scam — to the tune of billions of dollars in coming years.

Meanwhile, our neighborhood schools are still struggling with billions of dollars in state funding cuts the Legislature passed in 2011.

Please click here to find the name and phone number for your senator. When you call, tell them:… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

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