September 2006 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The White House and its allies in Congress are pushing a multi-million-dollar national voucher plan that would subsidize religious and other private schools.

In mid July, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced support of a $100 million voucher scheme that would pay for tuition and private school tutoring for about 28,000 students, The New York Times reported.

At a press briefing flanked by Republican Senate and House lawmakers, Spellings said the voucher plan would help poor students “trapped” in public schools deemed to be poorly performing.

Spellings said that if public schools could not show progress under the controversial No Child Left Behind law, students must be given other options, reported The Washington Post.

The Bush administration event came just four days after the U.S. Department of Education released a report saying public schools do as well or better than private schools in educating children from similar backgrounds.

The voucher bill is sponsored in Congress by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Reps. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas).