During tonight’s address to a joint session of Congress, President Donald J. Trump reaffirmed his intention to invest in “school choice” – code words for using taxpayer money to fund private school vouchers.
In response, Americans United for Separation of Church and State asserted that it will oppose any efforts by Trump’s administration to funnel public funds into private, mostly religious, schools.
“Public money should be spent on public schools,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Public schools serve 90 percent of American children. Voucher schemes, though, divert desperately needed public resources away from the public school system to fund the education of a few students at private schools under the guise of reform. But the results are in on vouchers – they don’t work.”
Voucher schemes (including tuition tax credits and education savings accounts) are poor education policy. They do not improve academic achievement and oftentimes lead to worse results. They funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools that lack accountability. Many private schools that accept vouchers teach religion as part of their curriculum and discriminate against students, including LGBTQ pupils and those with disabilities.