Private School Vouchers? Thanks, But No Thanks

Claiming that they merely want to improve students' educational options, "school choice" proponents observed "National School Choice Week" over the past seven days. "School choice" may sound innocuous, but more often than not, a cry for "school choice" is a cry for private school vouchers – a reckless scheme that results in neither quality education nor real choice.

That's why the ACLU joined with allies Friday to file a friend-of-the-court brief opposing a North Carolina voucher program. As we explain in the brief, vouchers undermine the separation of church and state. They do this by shifting millions of taxpayer dollars from public schools – which are open to all, regardless of faith – to private schools, the vast majority of which are religious. In turn, taxpayer funds directly support religious instruction – and not just in theology class, but in biology class, history class, and even math class.

In North Carolina, for example, private religious schools are not required to comply with the same academic standards applied to public schools, and many use Christian textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and Accelerated Christian Education. These publishers have produced textbooks teaching, among other inaccurate lessons, that "[d]inosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may even have lived side by side within the past few thousand years." What's more, private religious schools can and do discriminate, for example by excluding students on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

The principles of religious liberty undoubtedly mean that parents may choose to send their children to private, religious schools. Religious freedom does not require, however, that taxpayers foot the bill. Our taxpayer dollars should not support religious schools that seek, as one school proudly proclaims, to "teach all subjects from a biblical worldview."

School Choice Week may have come to an end, but the threat that vouchers pose to our children and our civil rights remains.

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Anonymous

If this is the case then public schools should also be teaching subjects from a biblical point of view. To only show them from a non-biblical way of thinking is bias...just in the other direction. If the ACLU was for non discrimination then it should stand just for that...not their one way street point of view.

Paige Smith

I agree with you. Taxpayer funds should not go to funding private education. If you have a school that believes religious curriculum, or against religious curriculum, then what part of my paycheck should go to fund your personal beliefs. Education should not be socialized. http://olivetschool.ca/academics/

Anonymous

Separation of Church and State.

Anonymous

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." Using taxpayers' dollars to fund religious education is effectively state-sponsored religion, and therefore unconstitutional.

Besides, isn't it also biased to only consider christian vs non-christian? By your logic, shouldn't schools also be teaching from the buddhist, hindu, ancient norse, etc. points of view?

Anonymous

Science is not a religious point of view. Public schools are funded by taxes, therefore the separation of church and state must be upheld. If public school students want to study religion, there is normally a world religions class at the high school level available for that pursuit where multiple religious points of view are shared.

Anonymous

I hardly understand that thinking. Why biblical? If you mean religious, then we should be teaching the creation stories of all the religions represented by the people of the United States. However that would take far too much time. Why don't we just stick with proven facts and let the Bible be taught outside of school hours.

Anonymous

No, if we go by that point of you we would be teaching every subject from the multitude of religious aspects. Our kids would be bogged down. Not to mention the whole separation of church and state (and to keep religious freedom we need this) would be violated.

Anonymous

Your children can learn religious teaching at their church or temple. Separation of Church and State is very important in public schools that are funded by taxpayers.

Anonymous

If you want to show where, in the fossil record, there is evidence of dinosaurs co-habitating with early hominids, by all means, please find the archaeological evidence. So far, there is none. Thus, the only way to teach "science" from a "Biblical perspective" is to ignore science altogether. If you want to do that, please shut off your car, and start praying that your God will provide a magical way to replace any motor vehicle transportation without the use of the combustible engine, to name just one form of everyday convenience brought about by scientific thinking.

Anonymous

The point of science is to teach from a scientific approach. If you teach from a biblical approach, it is no longer science. That is not biased. That is a fact. It doesn't mean that religion can't exist alongside science, it doesn't mean you can't refute science in favor of religious doctrine, but you can't teach religious doctrine and call it science.

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