By Alex J Davidson
Originally published on Advocate.com December 13 2013 11:34 AM ET
Is it possible that your tax dollars are going to fund a private school that is anti-LGBT and prohibits freedom of expression? In all likelihood, yes.
Salon's Katie McDonough raised the point in an article Thursday in the wake of Myrtle Grove Christian School’s decision Tuesday to decline North Carolina state vouchers in exchange for keeping its discriminatory policy against LGBT students and families.
But the problem with the “name and shame” process of demanding transparency and accountability after an egregious incident of discrimination is publicly exposed is that not all institutions make these policies quite so explicit. Many similar stories just fall through the cracks, or take place quietly through hiring and enrollment practices. As a result, schools’ anti-LGBT biases, whether stated directly in charters or practiced by officials through employment and admissions, can continue unchecked.
Efforts around the country are building to encourage state legislatures that participate in voucher programs to enact transparency standards allowing for minimum criteria when it comes to student and family rights. That has been a losing effort though, McDonough reports, especially in states like Wisconsin, where Republican-controlled legislatures are allowing the privatization of public education to continue unchecked.
McDonough spoke to Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, about how such privatization affects LGBT families.
"Whatever one thinks about vouchers, they are ostensibly supposed to be about providing opportunities for families who can’t afford to place their children in a higher-performing school or don’t have access to a higher-performing school in their district," Byard told McDonough. "In the end, cases like what we just saw in North Carolina show why these programs don’t really represent a full spectrum of choice for all families."
Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat