I got a private message over the weekend from a drive-by media personality who works for one of the better-known media outlets in the eastern part of North Carolina. He wanted to discuss my post on Judge Hobgood’s godawful ruling on school choice vouchers. This drive-by directed me to Article 9, section 6 of the state constitution, which says:
Sec. 6. State school fund.
The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools.[…]
The drive-by pointed out that the judge was inferring — from this section of our founding document — that state money can only go to PUBLIC schools. This passage talks about the sale of state land and “gifts” to the state — neither of which appear to be relevant to the issue of school choice vouchers. The money for public education is appropriated for the purpose of financing the education of individual kids.
If giving state money to private people for use in non-government-managed activities is unconstitutional, this TRULY opens a can of worms. What about “Smart Start” and “More at Four”? There were a whole lot of churches and private organizations that got state money to fund day care operations. Medicaid allows recipients to pick where they get their medical treatment. Food stamp recipients are allowed to choose where they shop.
Vouchers — by covering the full cost of tuition at private institutions — are in line with the constitution by providing “free” education to members of the public. What this all boils down to is the howling leftist screech monkeys trying to tighten their grip on our kids AND our money. If we want to avoid being left in the dust by Japan, India and China — if we want to ensure the best possible future for the younger generation — we need to encourage any and all sensible reforms like this to our failing, wretched, abysmal government schools.
Hopefully, we can find a sensible, competent judge or two to provide Judge Hobgood a remedial, refresher course on constitutional law.