This is an interesting article from Catholic World Report:
Burlington, Vt., Feb 3, 2019 / 04:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Diocese of Burlington is joining two students and their parents in filing a federal lawsuit challenging a Vermont policy that excludes students at private religious schools from taking part in a college credit program.
The Dual Enrollment Program in Vermont allows high school students to take college courses funded by the state. Students from public schools are eligible, as are students from secular private schools, and homeschooled students. However, attendees of private religious high schools are excluded from the program.
Eligibility for the program mirrors the criteria for a separate Town Tuition Program, which does not include private religious schools due to a 1999 Vermont Supreme Court decision which held that the use of public funds to pay tuition at private religious schools was a violation of the state constitution.
But plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the dual enrollment situation is different, since the state is paying for college courses, not the tuition for a religious high school.
Two students from Rice Memorial High School, along with their parents and the Diocese of Burlington, which runs the school, filed the federal suit on Tuesday.
As a rule, I never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. Parents who send their children to parochial schools are not exempt from property, or income taxes that support the public school system. To deny parochial school students access to a taxpayer-supported program their parents are funding should not require a lawsuit to give those students access to that program.
“Vermont is discriminating against students purely based on which kind of school they come from,” said Christen Price, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the students, parents and diocese in the lawsuit. “Vermont’s program includes public, private secular, and home-school students. Only students from private religious schools are completely excluded.”
“Students should have every opportunity to pursue their educational goals. That’s especially true in this case, where the government isn’t spending any money on religious education,” Price said.
There is no reason that this cannot be changed without litigation in a Federal Court. I’m under no illusion that Fortress Vermont isn’t filled with grumpy old men like Patrick Leahy, or Bernie Sanders, sitting around the woodstove next to the cracker barrel in the general store, polishing their arguments for the next town hall meeting. Even so, an indication that mules may be easier to reason with than bureaucrats in all 50 states is the following statement:
Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French said this week that he was not sure how many schools were excluded from the program, the Burlington Free Press reported.