July/August 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has announced that he intends to push a tax-credit program that would subsidize tuition at private schools. Under the proposed scheme, taxpayers would receive a cut by donating directly to private school scholarship funds.

The measure has been criticized as a neo-voucher program. Cuomo has been campaigning for it in synagogues and churches, and leaders of the Catholic Church have indicated support for the scheme.

“We’re not looking to give a hundred percent scholarships, we’re not looking to take away money from the public schools,” Susan George, who heads the Archdiocese of New York’s Inner City Scholarship Fund, told a local NPR station. “It’s about time we got a little bit of our fair share.”

AU State Legislative Counsel Amrita Singh slammed the plan at a June 9 press conference in Albany, noting that the “the vast majority of private schools are religious.”

“Thus, this proposal would take funds from the public sector and give them to religious schools,” Singh said. “Around the country, we’ve seen voucher schools that don’t teach sound science and history, that are severely anti-gay, and that teach intolerance of other faiths and traditions – despite receiving taxpayer funds.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the United Federation of Teachers, the Alliance for Quality Education, Reform Jewish Voices and other groups also oppose the plan.