Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Eases Church-State Rules in Education Applicable to Scientology

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Eases Church-State Rules in Education Applicable to Scientology.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she will no longer enforce a provision in federal law that bars religious organizations, such as Scientology, from providing federally funded educational services to private schools.

New York Times: DeVos Moves to Ease Church-State Rules in Education

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/us/politics/betsy-devos-religious-restrictions-education.html

By Erica L. Green

March 11, 2019

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WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Monday that she will no longer enforce a provision in federal law that bars religious organizations from providing federally funded educational services to private schools.

The move comes after the 2017 Supreme Court decision, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer, in which the high court found that Missouri had unconstitutionally engaged in religious discrimination when it denied a church-run preschool publicly funded tire scraps for its playground.

Ms. DeVos said that after consultation with the Justice Department, education officials determined that a provision in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal law governing the nation’s elementary, middle and high schools, was also unconstitutional. The law calls for students in public and private schools to receive “equitable services,” such as special education, tutoring or mentoring, and allows districts to hire contractors to deliver those services. But the law requires that those contractors be independent of “any religious organization.”

“The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion,” Ms. DeVos said in a statement. “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”

The Education Department said it would continue to enforce other provisions of the law that require contractors to be independent of a private school and that the services they provide be “secular, neutral and nonideological.”

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Washington Post: DeVos allows religious groups to provide taxpayer-funded services in private schools

https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...ory.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5cc8f23c2fef

By Moriah Balingit and Morgan Smith

March 12

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced this week she would no longer enforce a rule that bars religious institutions from providing certain taxpayer-funded services in private schools, saying the restriction ran afoul of a recent high-court decision.

Under the federal education law, private schools are entitled to many of the federally funded services that public schools receive, particularly if they educate children who are from low-income households or who are English-language learners. The rules, called equitable-services provisions, mean that public school districts pay for professional development for private-school teachers, or send members of their own staffs to provide reading help to struggling children who are eligible for extra help.

School districts will often contract with third parties to provide the services. But the rules barred school districts from contracting with religious institutions in these circumstances.

Sister Dale McDonald, director of public policy for the National Catholic Educational Association, said it meant that school districts could not contract with faculty members at religiously affiliated universities, for example, to provide professional development to private-school teachers, even if the services were secular.

DeVos said in an announcement Monday that the prohibition was no longer enforceable because of a 2017 Supreme Court decision in which the court ruled that religious organizations could not be excluded from state programs if the organizations have secular intent. The court sided with Trinity Lutheran, a Missouri church that sought to participate in a state program to resurface its playground for its preschoolers.

“The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion,” DeVos said in a news release. “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”

While school districts are now open to contract with religious organizations, the services they provide must be “secular, neutral and non-ideological.” The service providers also cannot be affiliated with the private schools they are serving.

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“The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion,” DeVos said in a news release. “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”

While school districts are now open to contract with religious organizations, the services they provide must be “secular, neutral and non-ideological.” The service providers also cannot be affiliated with the private schools they are serving.

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The above is attainable only if it is something on the nature of re-paving a driveway but services of any kind that provide educational services cannot be unbiased, un-ideological or neutral.

It may not manifest at first, but these things get corrupted when competition becomes involved, which will happen.

As soon as you say your program gets better results, you have delved into ideology.
 

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U.S. Department of Education: U.S. Department of Education Finds ESEA Restriction on Religious Organizations Unconstitutional, Will No Longer Enforce

https://www.ed.gov/news/press-relea...tions-unconstitutional-will-no-longer-enforce

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today at the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) State Directors Annual Meeting that the Department will no longer enforce a restriction barring religious organizations from serving as contract providers of equitable services solely due to their religious affiliation.

The U.S. Department of Education, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Justice, determined the statutory provisions in Section 1117(d)(2)(B) and 8501(d)(2)(B) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that require an equitable services provider to “be independent of … any religious organization” are unconstitutional because they categorically exclude religious organizations based solely on their religious identity.

These provisions run counter to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S. Ct. 2012 (2017) that, under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, otherwise eligible recipients cannot be disqualified from a public benefit solely because of their religious character.

Given this decision, the Department will no longer enforce these provisions that previously restricted school districts from contracting with religious organizations to provide equitable services on the same basis as any other organization.
“The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion,” said Secretary DeVos. “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”

The Department will continue to enforce all other applicable provisions of federal law. In particular, under ESEA Sections 1117(a)(2) and 8501(a)(2), school districts must continue to ensure that any contractor is independent of the private school for which it is providing services and that the educational services and other benefits being provided by the contractor are “secular, neutral and non-ideological.”

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