In state legislatures across the country, proponents of taxpayer aid to private schools are pushing forward voucher bills at a rapid pace. Next week, Americans United is hosting two webinars on March 2 and March 3 to educate and equip advocates with the resources they need to oppose private school vouchers. 

AU’s opposition to vouchers is core to our mission: Vouchers violate fundamental principles of religious freedom by forcing taxpayers to support religious education. Vouchers also weaken our public schools and communities by diverting resources away from the schools that serve all students regardless of race, ability, or religion to fund the education of a few, select students at private, religious schools.

We advocate against voucher legislation at the federal level as co-chair of the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), a coalition of over 50 national organizations that support public funding for public schools and oppose vouchers. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which weakened states’ abilities to prohibit funding for religious schools through their constitutional no-aid provisions, NCPE created a resource for state legislators and advocates to oppose voucher legislation. This toolkit contains information about the case and talking points on the policy reasons for opposing vouchers. Our upcoming webinar series will showcase this toolkit.

The first webinar, “When Communities Come Together: Supporting Public Schools,” will take place on Tuesday, March 2, at 3 p.m. Eastern. It will highlight the harm vouchers pose to religious freedom and why members of religious communities support public funding for public schools rather than taxpayer funding for religious education. 

I will moderate the panel, which will include Jennifer Hawks, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty; Suhag Shukla, Hindu American Foundation; the Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, Pastors for Children; and Rabbi Robert Barr, Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland, Ohio.

To join this webinar, please RSVP here.

The second webinar, “When Public Dollars Fund Discrimination: How Private School Voucher Programs Harm the Students They’re Meant to Serve,” will take place on Wednesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Eastern. The focus of this webinar is to demonstrate that private school vouchers not only weaken public education but also fund schools that discriminate against students and teachers.

I'll take part in this panel along with Jennifer Berkshire, freelance journalist and co-author of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School who will moderate the discussion; Titilayo Tinubu Ali, Southern Education Foundation; Myrna R. Mandlawitz, Council of Administrators of Special Education; Aaron Ridings, GLSEN.

To join this webinar, please RSVP here.

Both webinars will also be available on AU’s Facebook Live. We hope you will tune in to learn more about opposing private school voucher programs.