As a former public school teacher, I would have been accusatory of the banks donating all kinds of money to Florida's Step Up program, at least to some degree. The thinking is that students pulled away from public schools hurt those public institutions. It's not like the scholarship was designed for wealthy families, however, so the program is really just promoting the original choice idea for schools. Parents make the choice of where their kids attend school because now they have the money to do so, like the rich people in town.

So these major funders of a choice program now want to call the shots as to what kind of choice the parents make. Then it's not really choice, and the funders of Step Up should be sending their tax-hiding donations to local public schools. I'd be fine with that, too, but if these institutions want to support school choice, then they have to allow parents to actually choose.

Parents who choose schools that discriminate against the LGBT community have chosen to send their kids there. It's pretty simple, really. If a school says it won't be providing trans bathrooms, then the parents of a trans kid would be better off choosing a school that has nothing but trans bathrooms. And if that school doesn't exist, then either those parents need to start one of their own or accept the fact that separate bathrooms are a huge expense.

If I made the choice, with or without a scholarship, to send my kids to a Catholic school, I would not ask the people who run the school to denounce the Pope, just because I don't believe in having a pope. If I chose to use my choice money at a Waldorf School, I wouldn't tell administors that tree climbing is kind of dumb and dangerous. Catholics have a pope and Waldorf kids climb trees. Many religious schools in Florida have rules based on their religion, and as long as those rules are spelled out in a handbook or website or in person, parents make their decisions to send kids to the schools based on the defined parameters.

I send my kids to a private school with a scholarship. I know that, theoretically, the school would be less welcoming to LGBT folks than a local public school. There might even be some rhetoric about the policies printed somewhere. However, in practice, the school has dealt with LGBT issues in a caring way. In fact, after having taught at a local public school, where I had to stop kids from bullying another student for seeming gay, I'd say that a school that promotes Christian values probably does a better job in many cases dealing with LGBT issues than at a public school.

I am sure the conventional wisdom is going to say that policies against some students will promote bullying and maybe even suicides or school shootings. Therefore, I assume the evidence would be overwhelming when looking at the statistics for these types of behaviors at religious schools. There must be all kinds of shootings, suicides, and parental complaints. Before Step Up decides to step down, I'd look into how tormented these kids must be. And how unhappy the parents must be with their choices.

Bringing it all back around, the idea here is that Step Up is giving vouchers to parents of kids who could not normally afford to make a choice. If you are going to say those parents deserve a choice, then you can't then limit the program to very specific choices. The rich parents don't have to do that, and the point of the choice programs were equalize opportunity, not to promote political agendas.