AFT’s Weingarten responds to Supreme Court decision in Carson v. Makin
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Carson v. Makin:
“Remarkably and stunningly, even for this right-wing majority, this decision completely vitiates the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution and, with it, the separation of church and state, a core constitutional principle that has bound this country together since its founding. Today the court has decided that taxpayers must pay for the private religious education of others.
“The First Amendment was meant to balance the establishment clause and free exercise clause. Instead, this ruling creates further strife and tension between taxpayers and people of different religions, which the establishment clause was intended to protect against.
“The majority not only attacks public schools and public education but threatens religious institutions and organizations by opening them up to state control and state interference. With public funding comes public accountability. It is wrong to force taxpayers to fund a school that discriminates against our most vulnerable students when the school is supposed to substitute for public education.
“Now more than ever, we must prioritize our public schools, not marginalize them; we must invest in them, not divert money away to private programs. The power and purpose of public schooling is to educate every child, regardless of geography or demography. This decision fails that basic test.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.