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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Amendment 8 is not about vouchers, school voucher group says



When Florida voters head to the ballot box in November, they'll be able to decide whether to end the state's longtime ban on using taxpayer funds to assist religious institutions.

Amendment 8, the effort to end the Blaine Amendment in Florida's constitution, has received much negative attention from the Florida Education Association. The FEA has argued that the initiative is an underhanded way to pave the path to funnel publicly funded vouchers to parochial schools.

That's just not the case, writes Jon East of Step Up for Students, the group that runs Florida's corporate tax credit scholarship program.

"Though parental choice advocates have previously pushed for changes to the no-aid clause, they were not involved last year in the legislative effort to put this issue on the ballot and are not raising money for the campaign," East writes. "This is not to suggest they oppose the amendment – most school choice advocates support the role of faith-based service providers – but it reflects the extent to which state and federal court decisions have minimized the relevance of this issue for school choice."

He notes that the Bush v. Holmes case finding vouchers unconstitutional did not focus on the Blaine Amendment. Tax credit scholarships also appear immune to attacks from the Blaine Amendment, he adds.

Read East's full blog post here. Is it time to give up on Florida's Blaine Amendment?

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:39pm]


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