Supreme Court issues 6-3 ruling on Carson v. Makin

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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120 Responses

  1. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    As far as I can tell… it goes something like this:

    If the government gives money to Generic Christian Academy, that would violate the First Amendment’s Establishment clause.

    If the government gives vouchers to parents to use on their kids and the government prevents parents from using the vouchers on Generic Christian Academy, that would violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause.

    Off the top of my head, that seems more-or-less right. But, of course, IANAL.Report

  2. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    This strikes me as a bad decision but an easy fix. Whether the Maine legislature makes that fix is another story.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      What’s the fix that won’t step on the toes of Espanoza or this case?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Roberts laid it out. States do not have to provide any money to private schools.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          Ah, of course.

          I misunderstood the goal.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Heh, the goal is to make sure Main turns Red.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              When I first read this, I read “Main” as in “Main Street” and “Red” as in “blood”.

              Then I realized that it was merely “Maine” and “Republican” (as opposed to “Purple”).Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m pretty sure that the people upset that they can no longer send their kids to Evangelist schools are not voting blue under any circumstances. I’m open to argumentation with evidence that there are enough voters in Maine who use this program to send their kids to non-sectarian private schools to turn the state more red than it is already.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I put it in the category of ‘goals’

                Basically allowing parents to use tax-funding for education of their children – especially when that’s the only option as in parts of Maine – is going to be seen as fair and popular.

                Making it a ‘goal’ to take this away is now going to be a political loser because the veneer of ‘well, we have no other option’ is gone. You have another option. What you don’t have is a good political reason for the goal.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Reading the facts I’d be curious how many people are impacted. I assume it would be the number of students at one of the rural academies who but for the lack of subsidy would be at a religious school plus the number of students at a religious school that don’t get a subsidy but presumably now could?

                Anyway I don’t know how much of a watershed I see for school choice, a cause I sympathize with. The whole idea is to improve service and quality, not waste tax payer money on whackadoo Jesus camp where the science class features pictures of human and dinosaur footprints next to each other as proof the world is only 5,000 years old or whatever. Too bad we don’t have any regulars from Maine, I’d be interested to hear how this is viewed on the ground, or if it’s even a factor for most people.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, I don’t think it’s a watershed moment… much of Maine is officially ‘unorganized territory’

                Probably everyone shrugs and realizes the law was unnecessarily restrictive and very little changes.

                Probably; unless it becomes some sort of new goal.Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                One thing that struck me as very odd is the paucity of public high schools. Seems like that would be close to job 1 of a local government.Report

              • Pinky in reply to InMD
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                says:

                For what it’s worth, the ruling says:
                “Prior to 1981, parents could also direct the tuition assistance payments to religious schools. Indeed, in the 1979–1980 school year, over 200 Maine students opted to attend such schools through the tuition assistance program.”Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Maine has the oldest average age for citizens. There are some areas where the state does not have enough secondary school students to have middle or high schools from a financial prospective. The program was designed to get those kids an education.

                Given the demographics of the state, I’m not sure how much of a negative impact it would be to stop funding private education.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                No offense but this is telling me you don’t have evidence to support your claim.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Fair enough… if the Maine legislature enacts the ‘simple’ fix as you call it and survives the next election I’ll concede the point.

                If they don’t enact any fix, then if I wasn’t right, I was not wrong.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          As CJ noted in the other thread that’s not practical in a heavily rural state like Maine. There aren’t public schools to send the funds to.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            The program orders that rural areas to use the money to transport kids to more populace areas for public school or on private school tuition. What is the break down on how it is done?Report

  3. Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m on board with the state setting criteria for eligibility that does not/cannot include religion itself. Things like… requiring recipient schools to provide SpEd services, requiring recipient schools to meet state curriculum standards, requiring schools to abide all non-discrimination laws… stuff like that.

    If a school can do that and happens to be a religiously-affiliated institution, so be it.

    But absent that, stuff could get real hairy real fast, especially in the areas where public options simply don’t exist, and leave already-vulnerable student populations even worse off.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      A hypothetical:

      100 high school age kids live in a fairly remote area. One of them has severe special needs and another nine have moderate special needs.

      The 90 kids who don’t all take their state funds and attend St. Jesus High. SJH doesn’t provide any SpEd services. Since there are only 100 kids in the area and 90 of them go to SJH, SJH is the only option.

      What happens to the other 10 kids? Do they go to SJH and just not have their needs met? Do they get bussed to the nearest school that can meet their needs? What if that is an hour away? Two hours?

      Or… same 100 kids, same area, but 5 of them identify as gay. Or are Muslim. And SJH does not allow students to be out. Or requires Catholic religious training.

      Not having criteria like this could turn private schools — sectarian or not — into the de facto only public option while not having in place the same mandates that public schools do.

      Real hairy, real fast.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      I’ve always been a big fan of tying various things to test scores in student competency, myself.

      But that might have bad results on the schools that do stuff like report 0 students proficient in math or reading.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, it depends on what you think the best response is to schools who fail to serve their students. Like, do you help them get better? Or do you punish them while still demanding they meet the standards they already failed to meet?

        If SJH is an otherwise good school but fails its gay or Muslim or special needs kids, I’d prefer you work with SJH to make sure they can remain eligible for funds and meet those kids needs. And if they really don’t want to, so be it.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          To elaborate, sometimes a school reports low proficiency because they are underfunded. And the response to the poor scores is to cut their funding further. Like, what are the odds that helps anything?

          Now, the same time, just throwing money at the problem is probably unlikely to improve things and creates all sorts of perverse incentives.

          So once criteria for funding are in place you want multiple layers of mechanisms to vet and support schools meeting them.

          “Oh, SJH can’t provide speech services because they don’t have an in-house SLP and the funds they get for the 3 kids who are due speech via their IEP isn’t enough to hire one. Should we:
          A) simply note that they aren’t meeting this criteria and cut all funding
          B) shrug and do nothing
          C) identify an alternate funding source to allow them to hire an SLP
          D) identify an alternate means of providing those services that SJH helps facilitate

          Too often we do A or B and never consider C or D.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, I’m a fan of school choice, myself. But now we’re wandering into stuff like Teacher Unions and the attendant problems of “What Is The Point Of Lower Education” and whatnot.

          But if a school has 0 students proficient in math or reading, I can totally understand parents wanting to try something else.

          Even if it’s a Muslim school.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not sure that really gets to my point.

            My biggest point is that if the funding system is such that students with special needs or students from marginalized groups end up further marginalized as a result… well… we need to fix that.

            And I think we can fix that AND still allow funding to go to sectarian schools, which I don’t have a specific objection to despite being pretty critical of religion and its institutions myself.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, the choice was not “utopian or sectarian” but “sectarian or homeschool”.

              The public schools that had funding enough to help students from marginalized groups were schools that did not exist in this particular case.

              Though I understand why someone would prefer them.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I don’t think I proposed utopia.

                I proposed sectarian with certain standards. Did those standards seem reasonable?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Compared to what?

                I mean, I like the idea of standardized testing and tying accreditation to demonstrated competence. But we’re now repeating arguments we’ve had before.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I believe you laid out the alternative was the state stops offering any funding and parents home school… right?

                So… compared to that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                So long as those standards also apply to other schools, no problem.

                I’d hate to think that School A be allowed to get away with murder but people get out the fine-tooth comb for School B.

                I mean, that’s a recipe for schools that don’t have a single proficient student a couple of districts away from schools that have 12% of the graduating class go to the Ivy League.Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the way to approach it is to mandate certain accreditation standards to recieve state money. The Catholic schools in my area for example are accredited by Cognia, which I believe is a reputable enough, secular NPO. As long as the accreditation requirement was universal I don’t see how it would run afoul of this holding.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                This was exactly my point and what I said in my initial comment: “I’m on board with the state setting criteria for eligibility that does not/cannot include religion itself.

                If a school can do that and happens to be a religiously-affiliated institution, so be it.”Report

              • InMD in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I would assume that’s where this is going to end up legislatively, at which point the ball will be back in the court of the religious schools.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I want to make sure I understand you right…

                You think the law will shift to say “Any school that meets criteria X, Y, and Z is eligible for these funds.”

                And that the religious schools may/will then challenge the law?Report

              • InMD in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Not necessarily that they will challenge it (though depending on what it is they might), just that they’ll have to decide if getting the subsidy is worth meeting the criteria.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                “just that they’ll have to decide if getting the subsidy is worth meeting the criteria.”

                And then, of course, we’ll have to decide whether “not getting the subsidy” is punishment enough for them deciding not to meet the criteria.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Right… but X, Y, and Z are important.

                As InMD says, the most common way to qualify for various state and local funding is to be accredited. This is particularly pronounced at College Level (where I have more 1st hand knowledge) which is universally managed thus (vs. Public Accreditation – see below). And, outside state/public school accreditation, this is somewhat distributed in that there isn’t one accreditation standard or company (as you likely know from your experience in Private Schooling).

                As long as the ‘goal’ of the accreditation organization is education, goals, process and accountability – the usual baseline – then various ‘worldviews’ can plug in to the accreditation process. Accreditation is not, however, a curriculum screener or a ‘worldview’ filter – nor should it be.

                Most all Catholic schools are accredited as are many homeschool programs (Catholic and non) it depends on the homeschool paradigm (e.g. remote learning vs. curriculum support).

                Not surprisingly, Virginia Public schools is their own Accreditation board and recently (2017) only 86% were fully accredited and 88 (4.8%) were denied accreditation.

                Naturally they changed the accreditation requirements in 2018/19 for higher compliance… then completely waived all accreditation in 2020/21.

                But, for the schools that were ‘Denied Accreditation’ – one of which was our local elementary school – there was no ‘alternative use of funds’ or ‘refund’ or ‘choice’ … just send your kids to the unaccredited school. Thank you very much.

                https://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2017/09_sep13.shtmlReport

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                My primary focus would be on providing SpEd services because, as noted above, not being required to do so could leave those kids unserved or underserved.

                And I’d want the state to make sure they are positioned to provide those services… not just tell them to “figure it out.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Beware isolated demands for rigor.

                If these standards weren’t there 10 minutes ago and now they’re there?

                Something else is going on.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve never once used the word rigor here.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                An airtight defense.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I will not defend an argument I’ve never made.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not accusing you of using the word “rigor”.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Then I have no interest in discussing standards related to rigor.

                I laid out very clearly the criteria I’d emphasize for ANY school receiving funding in an environment where no public option exists.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I laid out very clearly the criteria I’d emphasize for ANY school receiving funding in an environment where no public option exists.

                And if we get all “well, shucks” about whether these standards apply to the public option schools, hey. Well, you have to understand that there are only but so many taxpayer dollars to go around.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Huh? What’re you talking about? I seriously have no idea what that even means.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s say we have a status quo that does not include X for a handful of logistical reasons.

                Let’s say that the status quo changes.

                Let’s say that someone starts calling for X now that the status quo has changed.

                You with me?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure. The status quo changing is the SCOTUS decision, correct?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Cool beans.

                So all I want are schools receiving public funds to meet the same criteria that public schools do in 3 key areas:
                1.) Providing SpEd services.
                2.) Non-discrimination
                3.) Not requiring participation in religious practicesReport

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Kazzy says, and I’m quoting, “… do …”.

                This is where my bone of contention lies. If they “do”, then great.

                If they don’t, this is a request that wasn’t important until the status quo changed.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Those are all legal requirements currently for all public schools. And while I’m sure how well they meet the criteria may vary, there are legal avenues available for anyone who feels the schools are not. This is all pretty well established.

                A public school MUST — per federal law — fulfill all students’ IEPs.

                A public school MAY NOT discriminate and exclude students based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

                A public school MAY NOT require participation in religious practices.

                And schools that do not meet those criteria will very quickly find themselves in court.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                To go further, I’ve gone through the accreditation process from both sides so I’m familiar with it and the importance of it remaining neutral in most areas.

                I’ll also add that this funding mechanism creates unique problems for serving students with special needs and as such seems like a pretty flawed model. But those kids have a right to services per federal mandate. So one way or another the state needs to ensure they’re provided properly.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “…those kids have a right to services …”

                This not an agreed upon idea.

                Conservatives don’t accept the premise that universal education is a right, or even a good.

                For them, education is a luxury good for those who can afford it.

                This is what “school choice” means, it’s what vouchers are about, it’s why they like homeschooling.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That isn’t true, and you know it isn’t true.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I invite everyone to reflect on every utterance of conservatives on the subject of public education, and draw their own conclusions.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                By all means. But that doesn’t give you the right to say things you know aren’t true in the meantime. There’s a difference between something being the meanest accusation you can think of and something being true.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Pay attention to Progressives as well!

                Here’s where we were discussing California’s segregated schools back in 2020.

                How young we were!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                To the extent that this is true, it certainly makes one wonder about the schools that fail to have a single proficient student.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The essence of authoritarianism is the bitter resignation to failure and callous disregard for community.

                All conservative proposals amount to abandoning those children to their fate and allowing the fortunate few to prosper.

                The idea of universal success is not in the conservative mind.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Is that what the essence of authoritarianism is today?

                I wonder what it will be tomorrow.

                (And I gotta say: The Progressives seem to have quite a few notches in their belt on this measurement as well. I would have put more effort into something more easily distinguishable. If you’re going to put your thumb on the scale, don’t make it so easy to ask what makes your own outcomes so different… other than, of course, the fact that they’re measurably worse.)Report

              • Kate Hoover in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Children do not belong in Cages!

                Progressives vote to not keep immigrant children in cages.

                Biden Administration’s policies lead to…
                “More Kids in Cages!”

                According to your definition, this is the essence of authoritarianism, including the abandonment of children to their fate.

                (Me? I’m siding with Obama on this one. More Children in Cages. Fewer children with job skills and the horrific scarring that comes with those skills.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                ““…those kids have a right to services …”

                This not an agreed upon idea.”

                Maybe yes, maybe no… I won’t wade into that. It is a legal right they have per federal law.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Circling back to the issue at hand, the problem in Maine (specifically) is that the State itself will not build the infrastructure to educate rural children, so it delegates.

                I doubt very much that the small private schools are all properly equipped to do specialized SpEd with enrollments that are too small to support an actual investment by the State itself.

                The regulations you suggest aren’t applicable in these circumstances; instead I think we’re sliding into a general ‘School Choice’ everywhere discussion.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Maine’s circumstances seem very odd insofar as they don’t provide the schooling themselves. Like, really really odd.

                Ultimately, it is the state’s responsibility to make sure SpEd services are delivered.

                So if they aren’t going to offer it themselves and aren’t going to require schools to offer it… then they’ve got to figure something else out. And I don’t think, “Well, bus them to a special school 3 hours away” qualifies but the courts would ultimately have to decide that.

                If the state wants to take this approach, then they need to pony up the dough to ensure those kids get what they need. Again, this is federal law. And is a requirement regardless of whether the schools being funded are sectarian or not.

                If a parent in rural Maine has a child with special needs and there are no schools that the state can support their attendance at to meet their needs, the state is in violation of federal law. This was true before this rule and remains true now. So one way or another the state has to figure it out. My proposal is one way. There are other options, too.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                tl;dr: If Maine wants to delegate its responsibility to educate its children, it must delegate that responsibility for ALL children. It cannot simply shrug and say, “Sorry, there isn’t a school for you,” to any child for any reason.Report

              • InMD in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                There’s a bit of a play on the ‘hard facts make bad law’ maxim going on. From the legal commentary I’m reading the only other state with anything like this is Vermont. Which isn’t to say this precedent can’t be applied in unexpected ways, just that this case seems to have arisen from a pretty unusual situation.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean, to me the simplest solution is Maine operates its own public schools.

                If they want to offer some degree of vouchers or choice beyond that, so be it.

                But what Maine can’t do (legally, per the federal government) and shouldn’t do (morally, per me) is simply leave certain kids out of their educational offerings.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                I may have missed this on the thread, but is there any evidence that special education is being short-changed?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                No but the possibility exists and I’d like to see that pro-actively accounted for.

                With something like education, I think it is wrong to say, “Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” Which could mean a protracted legal battle over several years, during which a child goes un- or underserved.

                And if the schools can currently meet the needs of any students with special needs who come their way, then there is nothing they need to do. Not every school needs to be fully equipped to meet every need at all times. It wouldn’t require every school to revamp overnight. But it would mean that if a student in the school or who applied to the school qualified for services, they couldn’t be turned away. And the state would have to support the school in providing those services.

                I laid out above hypotheticals on how this could play out if that is what you are referring to.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll try to provide a brief crash course in layman’s terms in how this works typically:

                If a student is identified as having special needs, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created, which includes a variety of things including what accommodations they are to be granted, what their goals are, how they’re measured, etc. The child’s local school district is then required to fulfill all aspects of the IEP. This might happen in their existing classroom, might happen within a specialized program within the school, might happen at a specialized school that is part of the district, or may require the district to pay for the children to attend a private specialized program. If there is disagreement between the family and the school on any of this, there are processes in place to address them, which could include legal action. But at the end of the day, the school is legally required to provide all services. This is covered by federal law via the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

                In this Maine scenario… frankly… I have no idea how this would play out. If public schools simply don’t exist in these rural areas, then families are reliant on whatever private options are available. And if none of the private options available provide the necessary services to meet the needs of students with special needs, then the district or the state or whomever is legally required to remedy that. And I don’t think any court would accept, “Well, we gave them a voucher to use… it’s not our fault they couldn’t find anyone who’d take it,” as a remedy.

                FWIW, the status quo has some major, major flaws, chief among them that federal law set the mandate but does not necessarily provide the funding to meet it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “Is there any evidence that X?”
                “No, but…”

                This wanders closely to an isolated demand for rigor. If it wasn’t an issue two weeks ago… suddenly it’s one now?

                Huh.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay.

                The status quo changed.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Alternately, what hasn’t changed in decades is Maine’s requirement to provide special ed services for students with special needs.

                If they find another way to do it, fine by me.

                Don’t like that? Take it up with the feds.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                These rules that didn’t matter before and we don’t even know if they’re being broken now are now rules that are imperative?

                If we go back to the previous way, you’ll find the rules to be as unimportant as they were two weeks ago?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                If anything, the new rules should make it easier for parents of special needs students to get their children into their desired school.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                Explain.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                More options.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I have to ask Pinky and Jaybird…
                Why would you oppose putting any of those criteria in place for any schools receiving public funds? If existing Maine law already requires the state to provide funding the services, what argument to you have requiring schools to provide it as a condition of receiving public funds?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                If those criteria didn’t exist last week but only got put into place this week as a way to get rid of the sectarian schools, I’d wonder if those criteria will exist the week after the sectarian schools close.

                If they suddenly become less important a week later, I’m likely to conclude that it’s not about those services at all but creating barriers to entry that only one set of schools will be expected to overcome.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I would 100% oppose using those criteria as a way to eliminate sectarian schools as an option.

                If you think I’m advocating for them in service of harming sectarian schools and not in service of students, well, hey, you’re free to think terrible things about people for no reason.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Would you be inclined to bring them up in a situation where the status quo has changed but before there was any evidence of these programs being short-changed?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Inclined to bring up the criteria pro-actively? Yes. 100%. And I’m not sure why you are talking about “programs” because this isn’t about programs being short-changed but about children being denied their legal rights.

                Because the alternative could see a child go un- or underserved for years while a court case drags out.

                Maine already has a bunch of criteria for private schools. You can read them here: https://mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/20-A/title20-Asec2902.html

                As best I can tell, these apply to all schools regardless of if they receive public funds.

                Here is the scenario I fear:
                There exists a community with very few school aged children and thus does not have a public high school option. No bother… there is a good private school nearby and parents can send their kids there using public funds.
                But one of those kids special needs and requires an aide. Well, the private school doesn’t provide aides. So they reject that student.
                Now the student’s only option is to bus to a school 2 hours away.
                The parents argue that does not meet their child’s IEP. The private school argues that they are not required to meet the IEP. The state argues they aren’t really setup for situations like that.
                It takes 2 or 3 years to be resolved. During that time, the kid endures 4 hours of round trip bussing every day.

                I’d like to avoid that scenario and I think you could with a clear and explicit policy wherein the state is required to either A) provide an aide for that student and compels the private school to accept that student and fulfill the requirements of the IEP, all on the state’s dime or B) the state somehow conjures up a school within a reasonable distance that can meet the child’s needs.

                I don’t want that kid to wallow for however long it takes to resolve that. I want there to be a clear roadmap if that scenario arises.

                Now, maybe that scenario will never arise in which case the roadmap remains hypothetical. The private school doesn’t have to hire and pay aides on standby. The state and private school — who have entered into an agreement to contract out educational responsibilities from the former to the latter — cannot simply shrug and say, “Not our problem,” to a situation that is very much their problem per federal law.

                And I would want this to be what happens regardless of whether a school is sectarian or not.

                Now, maybe Maine has this all worked out already since they’ve had this screwy setup for a while now. If that is the case, so be it. So long as those kids get the services they need and are legally entitled to.

                This is not about religion for me. Regardless of my feelings on religion, they are secondary to my concerns about students not being served.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Because the alternative could see a child go un- or underserved for years while a court case drags out.

                And that wasn’t happening before this ruling?

                That’s what I’m hammering on. Whatever is going on was going on before this ruling.

                The ruling comes out and, suddenly, we’ve got questions about making sure that Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch syndrome kids are being accommodated.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I had no idea how Maine education worked before this ruling. Pardon me for forming an opinion upon learning something new.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought you’d raised the issue as a way to eliminate religious schools, sure. I wouldn’t have sworn to it, but it’s such an idiosyncratic complaint that no one else has raised and doesn’t appear to be related to the case or the ruling. I mean, whatever, maybe there was a good point you had in there or it was something that a teacher would catch on to, so I was ok taking the ride, but generally fervor and lack of evidence are signs that someone’s got an agenda.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I assume the criteria are already in place, and I wouldn’t oppose them being in place or being put in place if they aren’t.Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the distinction is whether the religious schools that previously may have fallen out of federal mandates on public schools are prepared to comply with said mandates now that they can get public money. I would think requiring them to do so if they want the subsidy is a no brainer, but this is another item which may get thrown back into the religious schools’ court, now that they’ve won on the question of the subsidy.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I don’t think it’s an issue specific to religious schools; the program – however it is defined – can’t exclude religious schools qua religious. So if all the qualifying schools have xyz SpEd grants/provisions then Religious schools could as well.

                A quick peek at Maine’s education laws don’t ‘ignore’ SpEd but I couldn’t find any specific set of requirements that the Private Schools getting public funding had to adhere to.

                Instead, Maine statutes state that the cost of SpEd to the student is completely free. A rational assumption would be that a private school that had students that needed SpEd would receive an offset in addition to the usual tuition to accomodate… and I kinda saw breadcrumbs to that effect.

                But at the end of the day, crawling through Maine’s statutes for an orthogonal (if interesting and important point) only took me so far.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s generally true that all SpEd services are free to students/families.

                I’ve only taught in private schools, though never in Maine.

                We are well within our rights to reject or counsel out students because of special needs. Because those students can always go back to the public system and receive services.

                We COULD choose to provide them services out of our own pocket plus their are mechanisms to recoup costs but these vary by state.

                The question remains… what if the only private schools — which are the only schools of any type cuz Maine doesn’t provide them — in a given area all say, “Sorry, we can’t serve you.”

                It seems as though the schools COULD choose to offer services and get reimbursed. But if they aren’t required to and the state doesn’t step in, the student’s rights are being violated.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Good question. I wonder if it has something to do with ‘Unorganized Regions’ then. That is, if you live somewhere that is officially designated as outside certain state/municipality control, then you live outside that.

                If you live in a rural area that is ultimately served by abc school within xx minutes then that’s what the state can provide. Beyond that, the state guarantees no cost, you have put yourself outside the access of the benefits provided by the state.

                At some point, you’d run afoul of not allowing people to live anywhere but within xx minutes of a SpEd program — and that’s just backwards from what States can and ought to do.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Maine is f’ing wild.Report

              • InMD in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve heard there are places up there that are effectively inaccessible for parts of the year.Report

              • InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s a parallel to the covid cases that singled out houses of worship. To the extent the holding boils down to ‘if the state is offering a subsidy, the state may not withhold that subsidy on the basis of religion,’ the obvious reaction seems like it should be ‘well, duh.’Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Allow me to clarify:

                It is not religious schools’ or any private schools’ responsibility to educate students with special needs; it is the state’s.

                If the state delegates the responsibility to educate students to private schools, the responsibility to educate students with special needs either A) must follow or B) be delivered by the state.

                I’m fine with either one.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll add that I’m generally supportive of school choice efforts, though the devil lies in the details.

                And, in circumstances where true choice exists (e.g., parents can avail themselves of multiple options), I don’t have a problem with public funds going towards sectarian schools ABSENT these criteria. In those circumstances, I would want all sectarian schools to be eligible (e.g., you can’t approve vouchers for Catholic schools but not Yeshivas). Again, the devil is in the details but broadly speaking, I don’t have an inherent objection to vouchers and such being use for religious schools.Report

              • InMD in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Agreed. It seems like Maine has gotten away for a long while with a pretty weird arrangement based on unique circumstances. Hopefully it’s a wake up call to create something better.Report

            • CJColucci in reply to Kazzy
              Ignored
              says:

              It doesn’t. It wasn’t meant to.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      I agree this is really the only thing that matters, so unless SCOTUS gave an exception for religious schools that receive public funds, I don’t see much of an issue (& I am not a fan of religion or it’s institutions).Report

  4. Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    If you didn’t believe in slippery slopes before, you have to believe in them now. Blaine Amendments are a dead letter.

    Blaine Amendments are prohibitions against state money being used to aid religious institutions that were part of a wave of state-level legislation about a century ago. It’s suggested that they were motivated by a decidedly ugly anti-Catholic biogtry. But at the same time, they are pretty clearly consistent with the Establishment Clause. They have been a particular focus of right-wing legal agitation for some time now.

    In 2017, the Court decided Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 582 U. S. ___ (the blank means the final pagination hasn’t been determined yet). This ruled that Missouri’s Blaine Amendment did not stop the state of Missouri from helping a sectarian school purchase a spongy mat for its playground. Then in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, 591 U. S. ___ (2020), Montana’s Blaine Amendment was found invalid as for particiaption in state-administered scholarships. And now in today’s decision, Carson v. Makin has it apply to direct payments of tuition to religious schools.

    If the social conservatives can’t bring prayer back to public schools (though prayers never really left public schools, they just stopped being required by them, and even then that may be limited to situations where someone dares to challenge a de facto requirement where it exists) they will bring public dollars to the religious schools instead.

    Oh, well, the facts in all of these cases are fairly sympathetic ones in which a well-intentioned state is trying to get some money to a similarly well-intentioned religious school, notwithstanding the wall of separation between church and state, because everyone just wants to help out the kids. I must remember to think of the children.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh, you wouldn’t believe how long I’ve been arguing for the existence of slippery slopes!

      But my take is, and remains:

      If the government gives money to Generic Christian Academy, that would violate the First Amendment’s Establishment clause.

      If the government gives vouchers to parents to use on their kids and the government prevents parents from using the vouchers on Generic Christian Academy, that would violate the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause.

      Who is making the decision? If it’s the government? It’s the wrong decision. If it’s the people? It’s not the wrong decision.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Heh. Just like how my interest in Establishment Clause jurisprudence was rekindled when I found out that a six-foot-high marble monument bearing nothing but a copy of the Decalogue, an American eagle and flag, two stars of David, and a Chi-Rho symbol, on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol, does not violate the Establishment Clause (Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005)) while an eight-panel display on the walls of the lobby of a Kentucky county courthouse, including the Decalogue in one panel and other historical documents on the others, does violate the Establishment Clause (McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844 (2005)). Note that these two cases were decided on the same day by the same Court.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          My problem with that is that if there is a third courthouse that is being set up in Bumblebee, Iowa next year and there is a proposed art celebrating the history of law from Gilgamesh through Roe.v.Wade, there’s not really a clear rule explaining what can and what cannot appear on it.

          I’m not sure that I could explain what would be okay if it showed up.

          Rules that you don’t know whether or not you’re following them? From the SCotUS? What the heck.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        “Who is making the decision? If it’s the government? It’s the wrong decision. If it’s the people? It’s not the wrong decision.”

        What about when the people want to spend their public assistance vouchers on lobster or cookies or alcohol?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          If the voucher is cash, there’s no way to limit whether they do so.

          From what I understand about Food Stamps, however, there are limits. Like, no “luxury foods”. A quick google of “WIC luxury foods” gives a couple of articles on the first page like this one that includes the sentences:

          Moreover, WIC Is precisely the program that people who hate food stamps and think that all poor folk do is use them for soda and lobster should love. The food permitted on WIC is very limited – fruit juices, canned fish, peanut butter, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, beans, and infant formulas. You can’t buy candy or luxury food items – this is the bare basics program for folks who like to peer into the shopping cart of anyone swiping an EBT card. Moreover, you can’t enroll without also receiving nutritional information.

          So it looks like that program already exists.

          Eleven Years Ago, Stillwater and I argued over whether or not Society was opposed to food stamps being used for cigarettes. I took the position that Society was opposed to food stamps being used for cigarettes. He took the position that we just can’t know what Society wants.

          So many memories.Report

        • KenB in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          Maybe I missed something — is the Maine program specifically targeted at low-income people? If not, this is a false comparison — public assistance is charity, whereas education is socialized spending. We pay for govt K-12 education whether we want to or not, and the govt usually gives us little or no choice about the service we get in return. If this program applies to people who have already or will eventually pay for the service via their taxes, the onus should be on people like you to say why they shouldn’t be allowed to spend what’s basically their own money in a way that they’d prefer.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to KenB
            Ignored
            says:

            A fair counter.

            In case you didn’t follow above, I have no issue with vouchers (in Maine or elsewhere) going to sectarian schools. I do have some issues with Maine’s overall education system but that is separate ultimately.

            I was responding more to the general idea about who gets to decide what can be done with public money spent by individuals, but you rightly note that there is an important distinction between the two programs I was comparing.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to KenB
            Ignored
            says:

            Socialized spending isn’t “our own money” any more than welfare is.

            The difference between food stamps and school is that food stamps are means tested and school isn’t.

            Another difference is that people don’t need to be encouraged to consume food, but people do need to be encouraged to send their kids to school.

            A similarity is that both food and education are a public good, providing benefits even to people who don’t directly consume them.

            So restrictions on how people spend their food aid are unnecessary, but restrictions on how people might spend a school voucher are.Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      If the social conservatives can’t bring prayer back to public schools (though prayers never really left public schools, they just stopped being required by them, and even then that may be limited to situations where someone dares to challenge a de facto requirement where it exists) they will bring public dollars to the religious schools instead.

      There will be prayer in school as long as there is algebra. The enthusiasm for government prayer, however, is based on rather different motivations.Report

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