Public Schools

“School choice” is a lie – private school vouchers don’t work 

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Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to National School Choice Week, which is Jan. 21-27, 2024:

“‘School Choice Week’ is a farce. We should spend this week celebrating public schools – the building blocks of our communities – not promoting private school voucher schemes. Vouchers only provide ‘choice’ for a select few, primarily wealthy families whose children never attended public schools in the first place, and for the private, predominantly religious schools that can pick and choose which students to accept.

“Private school vouchers do not give a choice to the majority of families who can’t afford private school tuition even with a voucher, or to the students whom private schools may decide to discriminate against on the basis of disability, religion, sex, gender identity, or other characteristics. And far from enabling choice for taxpayers, private school vouchers force people to fund religion, often times in a faith that is not their own.

Private school vouchers don’t work

“Vouchers don’t work – they don’t improve student achievement, and they especially fail students with disabilities, low-income students and rural students. Vouchers divert resources away from public schools that welcome all and educate nearly 90% of our nation’s children. We should be providing our public schools with the resources they need to enable all of our children to thrive. Public funds belong in public schools.

“Christian Nationalists and their lawmaker allies across the country have been emboldened by recent Supreme Court decisions that undermined church-state separation. They are pushing private school voucher schemes like never before as part of their crusade against public education and to enlarge their own power. We need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state. Our public schools and our democracy depend on it.”

Learn more about why we should reject vouchers

Learn more at the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), which AU co-chairs.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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Liz Hayes
Associate Vice President of Communications
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