December 2019 | Number 450
school bus
National Poll: Demand for School Choice Remains High
A survey by RealClear Opinion Research and the American Federation for Children (AFC) found that 70% of registered voters support a federal tax credit scholarship program like what has been proposed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Seven out of 10 registered voters would prefer to send their children to a school other than their zoned public school, including 4 out of 10 who would like to choose a private school. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters support the concept of school choice. See the full results here.
USDE Releases Data on Student Victimization
The National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education has released data on bullying, criminal victimization, and hate speech faced by students. It makes for sobering reading. Among the findings: "There were measurable differences between students in public and private schools who reported being victims of any crime or theft at school in school year 2016–17. Students in public schools reported being the victims of any crime (2.2 percent) and theft (1.5 percent) at higher rates than students in private schools (0.8 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively). In addition, the rate of students reporting no victimization in private schools (99.2 percent) was higher than for public schools." Read the full report here.
K-12 Students From China
A recent piece in the Christian Science Monitor looks at students from China studying in the US: "In 2005, US high schools enrolled only 639 Chinese students. By 2016, that number had risen to more than 33,000. While elite boarding schools have long catered to wealthy foreigners, the biggest beneficiary of the Chinese boom has been religiously affiliated private schools." Also of interest: "International students make up around 35 percent of all students at traditional boarding schools in the US and Canada, up from less than 20 percent just 15 years ago, says Peter Upham, who runs The Association of Boarding Schools. But that rapid growth, led by China, has stalled. 'There is significant evidence that growth has flattened out and in some cases started to turn down,' he says."
Redesigned College Scorecard
High school students considering college options have a new tool at their disposal: USDE's redesigned College Scorecard . According to a USDE release , "For the first time ever, students will now have access to information on the median earnings and median debt of a school's graduates, based on their chosen field of study. That means, for example, a student interested in studying engineering can now compare outcomes, such as first-year earnings and student loan debt, among engineering programs within an institution and among those offered at other schools. Students will be able to see if a career and technical education program at a two-year institution might generate a higher return on investment than a more traditional program at a four-year institution. Rather than having to rely on reputation-based rankings, the Scorecard will also allow students to choose a program based on the outcomes of students who have already completed that program."
Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act
The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece on legislation that would help military families choose a private education: the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act. "The bill would allow families to 'pursue alternative educational options to apply for an education savings account worth $6,000 annually,' according to the sponsors. That would make it easier to enroll in a private school with much more flexible requirements, or help a family cover part of the cost of home schooling."
Georgia Looks to Try Again on Education Savings Accounts
An official with the office of Georgia's Lieutenant Governor indicated that the groundwork is being laid for the Georgia General Assembly to take up education savings account (ESA) legislation in 2020. See the full story here.
House Committee in PA Advances Choice Bill for Harrisburg Students
Legislation proposed by the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, that would establish a tuition grant program for students residing in the Harrisburg School District, has been approved by the House Education Committee. Under the bill by Speaker Mike Turzai, Harrisburg students would be abler to receive a grant up to $8,200 to attend the school of their choice. Click this link for more information on the bill.
Judge Allows Bethel Christian Academy to Proceed with Lawsuit
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Christian school that is suing Maryland officials after having been kicked out of a state voucher program. US District Judge Stephanie Gallagher's decision allows Bethel Christian Academy to proceed with its lawsuit accusing Maryland education officials of discriminating against Bethel's beliefs on marriage.

The state of Maryland ejected Bethel from the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) program over alleged noncompliance with the program's nondiscrimination policy, and even went so far as to demand that the school pay back over $100,000 in scholarships. However, Judge Gallager's ruling rejecting Maryland's motion to dismiss Bethel's lawsuit said, "If, as it alleges, Bethel has not discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation in admissions, then it has plausibly alleged that Defendants infringed upon several of its constitutional rights."

Not long after Judge Gallager's decision, the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Education filed a statement of interest supporting Bethel in its suit, explaining in a release that "the Maryland State Department of Education discriminated against Bethel Christian Academy when it excluded the school from its BOOST Scholarship program due to the school’s beliefs regarding marriage and gender."

“The First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution protect religious schools from coercive government actions that force them to choose between abandoning or betraying their faith and participating in public programs,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

“Americans do not give up their religious liberty protections simply because they may participate in a government program or interact with a state government,” added Robert S. Eitel, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Education. “The U.S. Department of Education cannot sit on its hands as the First Amendment rights of Bethel Christian Academy are violated.

It goes without saying, this is a case for religious schools to watch.
Private Education: Good for Students, Good for Families, Good for America
CAPE member organizations:

Agudath Israel of America

American Montessori Society

Association Montessori

Association of Christian Schools

Association of Christian
Teachers and Schools

Association of Waldorf
Schools of N.A.

Christian Schools International

Council of Islamic Schools
in North America
Council on Educational Standards
and Accountability

Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America

Friends Council on Education

Islamic Schools League of America

Jesuit Schools Network

Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

National Association of
Episcopal Schools

National Association of
Independent Schools
National Catholic
Educational Association

National Christian School

Office for Lasallian Education
Christian Brothers Conference

Oral Roberts University
Educational Fellowship

Seventh-day Adventist
Board of Education

United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran
Synod Schools
Affiliated State Organizations a coalition of national associations serving private schools K-12

Executive Director:
Michael Schuttloffel

Outlook is published monthly (September to June) by CAPE.
ISSN 0271-145

1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: 844-883-CAPE
Michael Schuttloffel
Executive Director
Phone: 844-883-CAPE