In communities across the country, a growing and influential group of private school advocates has been pushing school vouchers as a cure-all for any deficiencies in our public education system. However, vouchers are not the panacea their proponents claim they are.

In addition to doing little to improve student performance and being vastly unpopular, vouchers undermine the separation of church and state. Voucher schemes shift 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. What’s more, these schools are often not required to comply with many academic standards and can 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. They should not, however, allow for religious education to be provided at taxpayers’ expense. The ACLU has been fighting to preserve these religious freedom principles by challenging voucher programs across the country.

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