Jan 25, 2013

Sectarian lobbies and right-wing interest groups are waging war on the public school system, and “National School Choice Week” is part of that effort, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

From Jan. 27-Feb. 2, pro-private school forces are sponsoring hundreds of events around the country that supposedly promote “effective education options for every child.” In fact, civil liberties advocates say the real goal is enactment of voucher schemes that undercut public schools and subsidize religious and other private schools with taxpayer dollars.

Event sponsors include the Heritage Foundation, the National Catholic Educational Association, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Betsy DeVos’ Alliance for School Choice.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “No one should be fooled. This is a carefully orchestrated propaganda exercise to promote voucher aid to religious and other private schools.

“This isn’t about ‘choice,’” he continued. “It’s about diverting taxpayer dollars from the public schools to private schools that are free to discriminate and indoctrinate. With vouchers, it’s private school authorities, not parents, who have the choice.”

Lynn noted that aggressive voucher crusades are expected in legislatures in Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alaska, Indiana, Maine and other states.

Lynn said repeated studies have shown that voucher students perform no better academically than their public school counterparts, yet sectarian and ideological interests are still demanding that taxpayers subsidize private school tuition.

Voters in 24 state referenda have overwhelmingly rejected proposals intended to divert public dollars to private schools.

For more information about the myriad problems with vouchers and other “school choice” schemes, visit AU’s special Web page: voucherFAIL