Schools and Learning

Vouchers for Private Schools: A Church-State Issue

Public schools educate 90% of America’s students. They’re open to all students regardless of disability, religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Voucher programs divert public funds away from our public schools to fund the education of a few, select students at private, mostly religious, schools.

Private voucher schools often turn away or expel children with disabilities, LGBTQ students, or students and families who do not adhere to the school’s religious code of conduct. And private school vouchers have a sordid history rooted in racism. First created in the South to allow white students to evade integration orders in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, vouchers were used to fund segregation academies designed to keep black and white students apart.

What you need to know

Your Tax Dollars, Their Discrimination

Students in voucher programs lose the civil rights protections they would have in public schools. They are stripped of their First Amendment freedoms, due process, and other constitutional and statutory rights guaranteed to them in public schools.

Private School Vouchers Prop Up Religious Schools

In many states, religious schools get the vast majority of funding for private school programs. For example, in North Carolina, 93% of funding for opportunity scholarship vouchers went to religious schools. In Indiana it was worse — fully 99% of voucher funding went to private religious schools.

Whatever They Want to Teach

Most states’ voucher programs do not have any curriculum requirements in place, meaning that the vouchers are paying private religious schools that teach religiously-based interpretations of science, civics, and history.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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