Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Should Tax Dollars Pay For This Discrimination

From Kentucky comes the story of a fifteen-year old student expelled for wearing a rainbow t-shirt. Seriously.

Kayla Kenney used to be a student at Whitefield Academy, where the mission is "to serve Christian families by providing a Christ-centered, Biblically-based education marked by academic excellence and spiritual vitality." Part of their vision is "to produce powerful and effective student leaders." The name, incidentally, is from George Whitefield, an 18th century preacher credited with helping to found Methodism and evangelism-- so not a subtle whiteness thing, just a subtle "refusing to be dragged into the 21st Century" thing.

The school's language suggests that this is part of an ongoing issue with Kenney, because, I guess, she often wears rainbows? Who knows. It doesn't really matter; Whitefield is a private school and they can eject any student they wish for any reason they wish. This story is spreading rapidly, but I'm not sure there's much to see here.


Except that this is Kentucky, where the fans of school choice have been pushing oh-so-hard for charters and vouchers in all their various forms. Like this old op-ed in which the head of EdChoice Kentucy tries to argue that scholarship tax credits don't cost the taxpayers a cent because they aren't really vouchers. This is some first rate bluegrass bullshit (and the type preferred by Secretary DeVos). To review-- a tax credit scholarship program means works like this. The state tells Bobby McGotrox that instead of paying his taxes, he can give money to a private school. This means that the state does not get the benefit of McGotrox tax dollars, which means whatever amount the state allows, the state is missing that much money from its own budget. This is some clever sleight of hand, but the end result is exactly precisely the same as spending tax dollars on vouchers for private schools.

Private schools just like Whitefield Academy.

This is what voucher programs get you-- taxpayers who literally have to foot the bill for schools that would reject or eject that same taxpayer's own children.

This is not choice. It is privatization. It is using the power of the government and the money of the taxpayers to support schools that behave in immoral and not-really-legal ways. It's not okay.

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