Thursday, January 26, 2012

Schoeller introduces educational voucher legislation

Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, on the same day his photo voter ID law was approved by the House Elections Committee, announced legislation which would bring educational vouchers to Missouri.

Of course, the words "educational vouchers" were never mentioned. The bill was posed by Schoeller as being an exercise in religious freedom. What it amounts to is another effort to weaken public schools by putting taxpayer dollars into private schools. The news release is printed below:

House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, filed a proposed constitutional amendment this week to repeal what is commonly referred to as the Blaine Amendment. In 1870, Missouri adopted the language to prohibit tax dollars from going to schools controlled by religious organizations. Schoeller said his legislation would give Missouri voters the opportunity to repeal this antiquated language and allow parents to explore the option of sending their children to private schools that have a proven track record of success.

"As we focus on real education reform we need to ensure that we are giving parents the ability to decide what is best for their children and give them real ownership in their decision-making process for their children's education," said Schoeller. "The constitutional changes we are seeking will do just that and help ensure parents continue to guide their children's education for the best possible outcome upon graduation."

Schoeller said the Blaine Amendment language in the Missouri Constitution has been used by Missouri courts to prevent options to parents and their children's education. He said it's time for that to change cited a ruling by the United States Supreme Court stating that state support to private school children does not violate the First Amendment Establishment Clause.

Schoeller's proposed constitutional amendment is HJR 70. It currently awaits assignment to committee for discussion.

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