Education

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The Christian Right has campaigned for home schooling, religious charter schools and vouchers for religious schools for the past two decades. The Christian Right advanced this agenda at state, local and national levels in the 2000 elections. On the Kansas State Board of Education, a seesaw contest for control has pitted Christian rightists against moderates. When under the control of Christian Rightists, the Board caused a national controversy when it removed evolution from standardized tests in 1999. The rightists lost their majority to Democrats and GOP moderates in 2000. The new majority has revised the standards to reincorporate evolution.38 That this battle had to be fought at all demonstrates the continuing strength of the Christian Right. A few years ago, the focus of the curriculum culture wars was over control of individual, local school boards. Now many education struggles are waged at the state level as well-Texas and Kansas are the most famous examples.

Despite Christian Right strength at the state level, two major referenda in California and Michigan that would have provided state-funded public school vouchers for any private school, including religious schools, were both defeated by margins of more than 2-1. The Roman Catholic Church and the Christian Right backed both referenda, and organizers promise to try again. Also in 2000, the Florida legislature passed, and Gov. Jeb Bush signed, a bill that would have provided state-funded vouchers for private schools, including religious schools. The bill has been ruled unconstitutional by a state judge.

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