School Talk

Andy Smarick Provides A Helpful Explainer—on Twitter—About Why DeVos’ Move to Ease Church-State Rules Could Be Hugely Consequential

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced yesterday that, in light of a 2017 Supreme Court decision, she will put the brakes on enforcing the provision in federal law that bars religious organizations from providing federally funded educational services to private schools. In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer, the Supreme Court found that Missouri had violated the constitution when it engaged in religious discrimination by denying a church-run preschool publicly funded tire scraps for its playground. Yes, recycled tire scraps make for a soft landing on the playground.

DeVos pointed to consultation with the Justice Department in explaining the conclusion that she has reached—as far as she and her team are concerned, that there are significant concerns about constitutionality when it comes to rules around federal dollars and private schools.

Andy Smarick is the civil society, education, and work director at the R Street Institute and previously served as president of Maryland’s state board of education. He also happens to have a knack for explaining policy in a way that is really helpful for those of us who are interested and engaged but not necessarily edu-wonks. So here is Andy’s explainer, via Twitter, for those who want to better understand what this move by DeVos does—and doesn’t—mean. Thanks Andy!

What do you think?

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