by Edd Doerr
PEARL is the acronym for Public Education and Religious Liberty, a coalition founded in New York in the late 1960s by Leo Pfeffer, Florence Flast and others to block efforts by Cardinal Spellman and friends to remove the section from the state constitution prohibiting tax aid to sectarian private schools. After we won that battle in 1967 (72% to 28%, and the subject of my first book, The Conspiracy That Failed) the coalition went national and I served on its board for years.
At rhe RNC convention in Tampa on Aug 31 Jeb Bush preceded Romney with a speech defending the indefensible, his brother's 8-year reign of error. Following is the comment I put on the Education Week blog after its report on Jeb and Mitt ---
"Romney conveniently forgets that the voters in his own state of Massachusetts voted against diversion of public funds to private schools -- twice, by 62% to 38% and by 70% to 30%. He also avoids mentioning that voters rejected tax aid for private schools in New York, in Maryland (2x), in Michigan (3x), in Missouri, in Nebraska (2x), in Colorado (2x), in Idaho, in South Dakota, in Utah (2x), in California (3x), in Oregon (2x), in Washington State (2x), in Alaska, and in the District of Columbia.
"Romney is associated with three states -- Massachusetts, Michigan and Utah -- and yet the constitutions of all three states pointedly prohibit tax aid to sectarian private schools. [It bears repeating that in these three states voters have rejected tax aid for sectarian schools a total of SEVEN times!]
"Before Romney spoke, his mouthpiece former Florida governor Jeb Bush praised the governors of Indiana and Louisiana for getting school vouchers passed in their states, conveniently overlooking the fact that the constitutions of Florida, Indiana and Louisiana all prohibit tax aid to sectarian private schools.
"What is clear from all this is that Romney and his party have no respect for the public schools serving 90% of our kids and nothing but disdain for the religious liberty of Americans, the freedom of Americans from taxation for religion.
"Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty"