The ACLU website has the press release here. There have been other articles about it in the Denver Post, EdNewsColorado, and others.
There are a few facts I want to declare.
First, this is a private action, not a library action. My wife (Suzanne) and I are doing this as parents of a child at Douglas County High School. Although I am indeed the director of the Douglas County Libraries, this action and my employer are completely separate. Public servants do not sacrifice their rights to free speech and civic engagement. We are taxpayers who strongly disapprove of the rechanneling of public funds into private and religious institutions. I repeat: THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DOUGLAS COUNTY LIBRARIES.
Second, why are we first on the list of plaintiffs (and there are many eminent plaintiffs, as you'll see in the complaint)? I don't really know. Perhaps because the name LaRue is so mellifluous. But when we agreed to be plaintiffs, we agreed to be a part of the public process.
Third, I think it's important to recite a little history here. We homeschooled our daughter through first grade, and our son through second. Suzanne and I were co-founders of the Academy Charter School, the second charter school in Colorado, and the first to be initiated by parents. A friend of mine, Laurel Iakovakis, and I were key in its adoption of the Core Knowledge Curriculum (which was subsequently adopted by many charter schools). I served on ACS's Board twice. I have served on Douglas County School District committees. I've worked on state curricular standards. Both of us (although Suzanne far more than I) volunteer for various school organizations like the Douglas County High School Band, and the DCHS International Baccalaureate program. I have written many newspaper articles about issues related to public education.
In other words, we are not opposed to educational choice, or educational reform. We are firmly committed to the support of public education, whose work is so vital to our nation. This isn't a new thing for us.
The Colorado Constitution is quite definite that public moneys shall not be spent on religious education. From my reading of early American history (as reflected in my book "The New Inquisition") the separation of church and state is a founding principle of our nation, and I fully support it. In our view, the policy decision by the School Board to launch a voucher program is illegal, inherently inequitable (taxpayers in the relatively poor Costilla County are supposed to underwrite the religious education of wealthy Douglas County taxpayers?), and profoundly destructive to the sustainability of public funding for education. It is also destructive to the rigor and consistency of education within Colorado, much less the United States of America.
Finally, please note that here, as in my newspaper columns, I don't cast aspersions on people's motives, or try to assassinate their character. I just think the idea is wrong, and should be vigorously challenged. Naturally, I don't imagine for a moment that this courtesy will be extended to me.
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