Trump's DOE clears way for 'equitable services' by faith-based groups

Friday, March 15, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Dept. of Education (logo)The Department of Education says it will no longer bar religious organizations from serving as contract providers of equitable services to public schools because it is unconstitutional to do so.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which first originated under the Lyndon Johnson administration, specified that public schools could not use religious organizations to provide "equitable services" to students simply because they were religious. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp says that was discriminatory.

"… It really was telling religious organizations that you can't provide these services to the school, you can't provide these services to help these vulnerable children simply because you are religious," he explains.

Sharp, Matt (ADF)The ADF senior counsel says the ESEA requirement came about largely because of antiquated and prejudicial Blaine Amendments found in many state constitutions "that were passed out of animosity … toward Catholics, saying states can't provide any funding or support to religious schools."

Religious organizations and schools can provide equitable services to public schools if the services are neutral and non-ideological. Equitable services include such things as special education, tutoring and mentoring.

The ESEA was reauthorized under both the George W. Bush administration ("No Child Left Behind") and Barack Obama administration ("Every Student Succeeds Act").

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