School Vouchers -
Yes or No?

Here's an interesting article I  (Jim Boyes) found in The New American magazine, December 9, 1996, issue, pp. 40-41, by Robert W. Lee. Mr. Lee examines the subject of government vs. private vouchers and scholarships.

Jim Boyes jmboyes@whidbey.net Coupeville Education Awareness Forum And Member of the Separation of School & State Alliance, Fresno, CA http://www.sepschool.org

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Who Should Teach?

by Robert W. Lee

from The New American, Dec. 9, 1996

Writing in the November/December issue of POLICY REVIEW, Douglas Dewey, president of the National Scholarship Center, a Washington-based research and information clearinghouse on privately funded school voucher programs, notes that at present "the parents of 6 million children (about 12 percent of the total) have opted for home or private school." Dewey suggests that

"if conservatives could rally around a single goal, it should be to push that number ever higher." He contemplates the day when "we will speak of the 12 percent who still depend on government for schooling and worry about what can be done to help those poor folks."

"If we do not expect parents to pay for their own children's education," Dewey asks, "what credible argument can we then make that they should pay for their food, clothing, shelter, or medicine?" Government schooling

"reduces parents to the role of assistants who ensure the completion of homework, help with occasional projects, and get kids to soccer practice on time. Government schooling is the very linchpin of the welfare state, the foundational tyranny that led to more then a century of servile laws to follow."

Regarding government-funded school vouchers, Dewey points out that it "is well documented that every government that has subsidized private and religious schools, from Australia to France to Canada, has diminished their autonomy and blurred their distinction from state schooling. Vouchers offer private schools in American the same fate..." So-called "school choice" may make one a chooser, but not an owner, "anymore than housing vouchers may you a homeowner. No government voucher frees you from dependence upon government."

As an alternative to tax-funded vouchers, Dewey urges a system of privately financed vouchers or precollege scholarships. He notes that since the first such program "was started in 1991 by J. Patrick Rooney, the former chairman of Golden Rule Insurance Co., the precollege scholarship movement has ballooned to 27 programs serving more than 20,000 low-income children--all private schools."

Dewey believes that "Christians must stop playing king-of-the-hill with liberals for control of Caesar's schools. Instead of lobbying the government for the right of children to keep Bibles tucked in their desks, we might consider building schools where teachers keep them on theirs." He agrees with those who would abolish the U.S. Department of Education, but states that "it must be part of a larger mission to end the federal role in education. Let's not merely shovel its programs back to other federal departments whence they came. Let the U.S. Government be as silent in the area of education as is the U.S. Constitution."
 

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