[Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of news reports from the year 2016 based on Mitt Romney winning the Presidency and Republicans Taking control of the Senate and retaining control of the House. These stories are not a predictions of what will happen, but they are indications of what could happen. That in itself should be scary enough.]
Increase in Number of
School District Completely Closing
Follows Supreme Court Ruling and the End of Federal Support
WASHINGTON (A. P.) The Pew Foundation reports that the number of school districts that are shutting down and not offering any school at all starting in September 2016 has increased substantially. Analysts attribute the trend to the end of federal government funding support for local districts and a Supreme Court ruling that the right to a public education was not enshrined in the Constitution, and that state and local governments had no obligation to provide public schooling.
The issue rose to the forefront of public policy when the local school district in
ran out of money after voters refused to support property taxes that funded the
district. The Bumpus, Texas shut down
the system and sold the facilities to the Religious Education Association for
$1.00. That group re-opened the schools
with tuition and fees at $9,500 a year. Bumpus Consolidated
About 20% of the school age population enrolled, and the rest of the potential students simply had no educational resources available to them. This low enrollment was a surprise since the new owners built a state of the art football stadium and provided low cost holy land tours, compulsory church attendance and a creation themed science department as part of the effort to attract students. Many of the older students had expected to work in the new auto parts factory, but that company moved the plant to another town when it became clear that public education would not be restored.
A parents group sued to force the school district to operate, but in an expedited case at the Supreme Court Justice Scalia, ruling for the majority, said that there was absolutely no provision in the Constitution requiring public schools, and that no locality was required to provide public schooling. The Justice praised the sale of the facilities to the private religious group. He stated that while that too was not mentioned in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers believed that a good religious education was essential and that state and local governments could facilitate that by giving away facilities to religious organizations.
After President Romney and the Republican controlled Congress eliminated all aid to public education, Tea Party groups led the fight to end public education and to replace it with both religious schools and for profit private schools. They largely succeeded in areas with a large proportion of retired individuals. As one voter in Stupidville,
said, “Look, I got my education, I don’t have children in the schools and why
should I pay for someone else who had more children then they could educate on
Several educational organizations pressured President Romney to restore funding and support legislation requiring public education, but Mr. Romney responded by saying that his administration did pass laws allowing private equity companies to buy public school facilities and set up for-profit institutions. He said that any family that could not afford tuition would get special loan rates of 8% provided they did not have a home mortgage and were willing to enroll their children in the new “indentured intern” programs that factories had set up to replace union labor with child labor.