Florida voters appear to have pretty soundly rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have prohibited state government from discriminating (specifically in terms of financial aid) against religious organizations, including schools with religious affiliations. The amendment needed 60 percent of the vote to pass, but it’s fallen pretty well short of that mark, according to results from the Secretary of State’s office.
The main education issue here is related to taxpayer-funded vouchers. The view is that had it been approved, the amendment would have allowed public dollars, in the form of vouchers, to go to religious schools. Groups like Floridians for Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination, which touts endorsements from former Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (both Republicans), and a whole host of religious organizations, supported the amendment, and the reasons are essentially contained in that group’s name. But those concerned about the separation between church and state opposed the amendment vigorously.
This looks like one tool that won’t be placed in the toolbox of Sunshine State education policy, depending on your perspective.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.