ACLU lobbies to end school choice in Vermont

by Rob Roper

As the Vermont legislature gears up for lawmaking in 2023, a big issue in the education arena is what to do about Vermont’s 150-year-old school choice system known as “tuitioning” following the Carson v. Makin US Supreme Court decision. Makin ruled that if a state offers a school choice program, as Vermont does, it cannot discriminate against religious schools from participating in the program.

Rather than allow Vermont’s fourteen approved independent religious schools to accept tuitioning students, many legislators would rather scrap tuitioning to independent schools altogether. It appears these lawmakers have an ally in the American Civil Liberties Union.  

Falko Schilling of the Vermont ACLU briefed the House Education Committee on his organization’s position on Vermont School Choice stating that there are two options: Limit the use of public dollars to public schools, eliminating any independent school from receiving tuitioning dollars. This Schilling describes as the simplest and “most straight forward option that exists.” Or passing a law that would mandate school districts “designate” which independent school a student could attend, taking the choice away from parents and thus severely limiting the number of independent schools that would be able to receive tuitioning students, religious or not.

You can see highlights of Schilling’s testimony here:

There is, of course, a third option available to Vermont legislators: allow parents in tuitioning towns to continue choose the best educational option for their family, even if that choice happens to be a religious school. But, at this point, it’s not one they appear to be entertaining.

— Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over twenty years.

Categories: Education

11 replies »

  1. The VT Legislature should not encourage the teacher unions to “own” VT students; parents rights must not be abolished!

  2. This ACLU fellow’s name, Falko Schilling, is curiously appropriate. Falko Schilling is a ‘shill’ for those advocating state plans and controls of our economy, social structure, through an authoritarian ‘uniparty’. While Schilling claims to advocate for the usual talking point, ‘equity’, his logic is nothing short of Plato’s conceit… as if he were wiser than God… promoting a vision of utopia that history has shown over and again will surely make a hell on earth.

    Think about it… carefully. When this immoral logic is projected to its ‘final solution’, the State will decide who among us lives or dies. This is not an overstatement. It is the logical progression.

    The ACLU has become the antithesis of its namesake. It is a cult, the biblical false prophet promoting a false security. Behold the public education monopoly. Behold, a Pale Horse.

    • The motivation for the ACLU’s evil public advocacy may not be as overwhelming as the profoundly epic battle between good and evil. It is likely a more pedestrian con. Consider yesterday’s headline.

      ‘Despite increased use, analysis says Arizona’s school choice program saving taxpayers money’

      People like Falko Schilling, and the legislators he’s addressing, are nothing more than grifters. Does School Choice save taxpayer money? Yes! But more importantly, School Choice stops the flow of money from taxpayers to the public-school monopoly grifters stalking their prey at the great public education watering hole.

      Surprise, surprise…. It’s all about the money. These grifters can’t figure out how to earn it, so they steal it from you. And not only are they stealing your money, their methods are academically and socially dangerous for the children the public-school monopoly is holding hostage.

  3. Teacher’s union hate religious schools, teacher’s union contribute heavily to VT. Dems, not hard to draw a line connecting the two.

  4. The ACLU should live up to their name and encourage “School Freedom of Choice”. Shouldn’t that be a “Civil Liberty”?

  5. Our youngest child chose to go to Catholic HS. The school did not require the teachers that were hired to have a state issued teaching certificate. There in lies the issue for the public schools. Child got an amazing education and is stunningly successful. We’d not change a thing, except to have it paid for with our tax dollars already going out.

  6. People, we are lucky in Vermont to have TOTAL free choice . . . it is called homeschooling. The choice is yours, if you don’t like public schools then sacrifice for your children then start homeschooling them. We did years ago . .. one less car, one less vacation, one less cell phone, a few less dinners out,and one less income but it has been worth every cent. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice for your children, then stop complaining . . . YOU have a choice!!!!

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