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Vouchers to private schools

Should private schools that discriminate based on race or gender get taxpayer funded vouchers? I posit that discriminating against someone for their sexual orientation is a form of gender discrimination. A Florida private school that made national headlines in August 2022 for telling parents that gay or transgender students “will be asked to leave the school immediately” accepted more than $1.6 million in state voucher money last school year. Read more: Private Florida school that bans LGBTQ students gets $1.6 million in tax dollars


Should private schools that discriminate based on race or gender get taxpayer funded vouchers?

Ashley Berner says in her article that religious schools that make a religious-liberty case for segregation should get our tax money for vouchers to their schools.

She says in her article "what if" but I posit that going to a homophobic, racist, or sexist school IS harmful to anyone and everyone. Excerpts from Ashley Berner’s article:

The Supreme Court did not stop with Brown v. Board of Education (1954), after all. Later rulings reinforced its principles by limiting the practices of private schools, too, even those that had made a religious-liberty case for segregation. … One can imagine a Brown-like moment at the Supreme Court. The consequences for education policy might be to withdraw funding, and possibly even tax-exempt status, from private schools whose hiring, admissions, and retention policies discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. … What if a robust body of research found that heteronormative schooling inevitably damaged children who were not heterosexual, or children whose parents were not heterosexual?

The solution is to have NO publicly funded schools that are racist, homophobic, or sexist. Notice how Ashley Berner (in her article) uses the term heteronormative but then instead of promoting tolerance and understanding, she suggests we go to separate schools. Publicly funded schools should NOT be heteronormative because the term means:

“Heteronormativity is often linked to heterosexism and homophobia. It is the assumption that heterosexuality is the standard for defining normal sexual behavior and that male–female differences and gender roles are the natural and immutable essentials in normal human relations. According to some social theorists, this assumption is fundamentally embedded in, and legitimizes, social and legal institutions that devalue, marginalize, and discriminate against people who deviate from its normative principle (e.g. LGBTQ+). See also heterosexism.”

I hope Ashley Berner's words scare you into wanting to improve our neighborhood and magnet schools and to oppose efforts by our legislators to divert our tax dollars to charter schools and vouchers. This 2020 News4Jax video which featured Ashley Berner as an “expert” was produced by Gary Chartrand (former Rick Scott appointee). The video appears to me to be calling for the privatization of K-12 education. Shame on News4Jax for giving Ashley Berner and David Osborne a platform to promote the privatization of our public education system.

The Florida legislature (under the leadership of Governor DeSantis) keeps passing bills putting more unfunded mandates on district-run schools while allowing charter schools and voucher funded private schools to be exempt from the rules. I hope people wake up to the dangers of the privatization of our public school system. Segregation is not the solution. Reducing prejudice based on negative stereotypes is the solution.

How do we reduce prejudice? A few quotes from a group who has a plan:

Schools had been steadily integrating for more than 25 years, and these diverse classrooms offered the perfect opportunity for teachers to put empathy, compassion and appreciation of diversity into their lesson plans. This generation, we hoped, would reject hate and exclusion.

Thanks for reading, Susan Education chair for the Jacksonville chapter of the National Organization for Women

PreK, K-12, vocational education, and college degrees!

Education needs to be open to all!

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