As this issue of Church & State was going to press, President Donald Trump unveiled a federal budget for 2019 that contains a proposal to divert $1 billion in tax funds to pay for private school vouchers,
The budget voucher plan, unveiled on Feb. 12, is a huge increase from the $250 million that Trump called for in his fiscal year 2018 budge.
Americans United condemned the proposal.
“Vouchers divert desperately needed resources away from the public school system, which educates 90 percent of our students, to fund the education of a few voucher students in private, religious schools,” said Maggie Garrett, AU’s legislative director. “Voucher programs are an ineffective and damaging education policy: they do not improve – and can even lead to declines in – student achievement. They also lack accountability to taxpayers, deprive students of civil rights protections and often provide students with fewer resources than they would have in public schools.
“Vouchers violate the religious freedom of both taxpayers and religious Schools,” Garret continued. “The government should not compel any citizen to furnish funds in support of a religion with which he or she disagrees – or even a religion with which he or she does agree. We believe that public funds should fund public schools; therefore, we urge Congress to reject this budget’s voucher proposal.”