Center for Inquiry Issues New Position Paper on School Vouchers

October 16, 2012

The following is a news update from the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy:

The Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy today released a new position paper critical of school voucher programs that divert taxpayer dollars from the public education system to private and religious schools. 

The question of whether the government should compel taxpayers to support religion-based and other private schools has vexed the United States since the beginning of the American republic. Over the past half century, the controversies have been intensifying, reaching a boiling point since the elections of 2010. Combined with a renewed drive to provide public funding for religious and other private schools has been an unprecedented number of assaults on the public schools that serve 90 percent of our K-12 students. Together, this two-front war on freedom of religion and public education constitutes nothing short of a major national crisis.

CFI's position paper, titled "The School Voucher Crisis," shows how the implementation and expansion of voucher programs threatens the idea of religiously neutral, democratic public education, and could have profound, perhaps irreversible effects on our future. It also argues that Americans have both the power and the duty to end the threats to our most important principles and institutions. 

"The School Voucher Crisis" was authored by Edd Doerr, president of Americans for Religious Liberty, past president of the American Humanist Association, and a columnist for Free Inquiry magazine. A well-published writer, he is a former public school teacher (history, government, Spanish) and since 1966 has been a full-time professional in the religious freedom field.

"Edd Doerr has done a fantastic job investigating the nature and scope of school voucher programs, and outlining the most important and compelling arguments against them," said Michael De Dora, director of CFI's Office of Public Policy. "I think this paper not only will convince readers that school voucher programs are wrong on several grounds, but that Americans must get active in ensuring that more do not crop up and steal funding from the public education system, which it needs so desperately." 

Read the full position paper here.


#1 Daniel Mann (Guest) on Friday November 02, 2012 at 3:36pm

Here are some reasons why the voucher system should be given greater latitude:

1. It offers more choice, especially to families stuck with failing schools
2. It provides needed competition to a failing public school system.
3. It allows for philosophical diversity instead a monolithic secular system. Diversity eases conflict and competition over the way the public school system should be. It provides a welcome relief from the contentious tug of war.
4. Parents have been satisfied with the voucher system, and, from what I have heard, it produces superior results.
5. It comports with our democratic principles.
6. It is only fair. For years, parents who have sent their children to private schools have paid double - the tuition and the taxes which support the public schools.

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