ACLU on Education

American Civil Liberties Union


End suspension of students for willful defiance of authority

Legislative Summary: AB420: This bill would eliminate the authority to suspend a pupil in kindergarten or grades 1 to 3, and the authority to recommend for expulsion a pupil in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid authority of those school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.

Analysis by ACLU of Northern California, Oct 20, 2014: Gov. Brown signed AB 420 which will eliminate the most extreme uses of harsh discipline under the category of "willful defiance." Gov. Brown's signature on AB420 represents a huge step forward for students in California. The enactment of AB 420 places our state at the front of the pack: we are leading in making meaningful advancements in civil liberties as other states turn in the opposition direction.

Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate 24-8-8 on Aug/19/14; Passed Assembly 62-16-1 on Aug/21/14; Signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sep/27/14

Source: ACLU of Northern California: analysis of voting record AB420 , Oct 20, 2014

Oppose CO voucher system because it funds religious schools

The Colorado Court of Appeals last month overturned the injunction placed on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program (CSP). The CSP is Colorado's only school-choice voucher program. Any student who lives within the Douglas County School District is eligible to apply to receive up to 75% of the state per-pupil funding to attend a school of choice.

In 2011, the ACLU of Colorado, the National ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Americans United for the Separation of Church & State, and others filed suit in Colorado state court, claiming that the school choice option violated the statutory provisions of the CSP itself and seven provisions of the Colorado constitution, including, importantly, the establishment clause in the Colorado constitution. As an ACLU spokesperson said after winning an injunction to prevent the program from being implemented: "By paying for students to attend religious schools, the state was unconstitutionally promoting and subsidizing particular faiths."

Source: Kloster & Corona on 2013 campaign website heritage.org , Mar 28, 2013

Against school prayer even if called "inspirational message"

SB98: Authorizing a district school board to adopt a policy that allows an inspirational message to be delivered by students at a student assembly.

Analysis by ACLU Florida: This is the school prayer, which was termed "inspirational message" bill when Senate legal staff expressed doubts it could pass constitutional muster. The measure authorizes school districts to adopt a policy to allow students of all ages to deliver inspirational messages at compulsory and non-compulsory school events and prohibits school personnel from being involved in overseeing the message contents, sectarian or otherwise.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 88-27-4 on Mar/1/12; Passed Senate 31-8-1 on Feb/1/12; by Governor Rick Scott on Mar/23/12

Source: Analysis of Florida legislative voting record SB98 , Feb 1, 2012

Oppose private and religious school voucher programs

The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the Scholarships for Opportunity Results (SOAR) Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC's failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, making it the nation's first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program, the DC voucher program should not be reauthorized or expanded.

Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation's civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement of students who used vouchers, including targeted students from "schools in need of improvement."

Source: ACLU 2015-16 voting recommendation on SOAR , Mar 29, 2011

Other pundits on Education: ACLU on other issues:

Opinion Leaders on the Right:
Cato Institute
Milton Friedman (Nobel Economist)
Rush Limbaugh (Radio Talk Show Host)
Ayn Rand (Author and Philosopher)
Heritage Foundation (Think Tank)
Libertarian Party
Republican Party
Ronald Reagan(President,1981-1989)
Joe Scarborough (Former Congressman; Radio Host)

Opinion Leaders on the Left:
American Civil Liberties Union
Democratic Party
Noam Chomsky (Author and Philosopher)
Green Party
Arianna Huffington (Internet Columnist)
Robert Reich (Professor and Columnist)
Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)
John F. Kennedy(President,1961-1963)
Sierra Club
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: May 01, 2021