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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Groups seek to strike Blaine amendments in Florida, elsewhere



Back in 2012, Florida voters rejected a constitutional amendment carrying the label "Religious Freedom." The stated goal was to eliminate the century-old Blaine Amendment prohibition on spending state tax revenue on religious institutions.

A looming concern that prompted the Florida Education Association to fight the resolution was that approval would pave the way for school vouchers at religious schools, something supported by "reformers" such as former governor Jeb Bush and his foundation.

Fast forward three years, and that same foundation has joined three other organizations in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a Colorado case that would overturn Blaine amendments in 37 states including Florida. The case involves school vouchers. Colorado's law blocks the use of state funds for vouchers to religious schools, just as Florida's does.

"The Blaine Amendment is an archaic and ill-designed provision designed to sanction state-sponsored discrimination," Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd, said in a release. "Shamefully, the ACLU and others have embraced this bigoted legacy. It is with great pride that our Foundation joins this effort to preserve the individual rights and liberties of all families, regardless of income, to pursue a brighter future for their children."

Read more about the topic in Education Week.

[Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2015 1:21pm]


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