CFI Joins Fight Against School Voucher Amendments to Education Bill
June 13, 2013
The Center for Inquiry (CFI), through its Office of Public Policy, has joined dozens of organizations in opposing any amendments to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that would create a federal school voucher program. Such a program would use taxpayer dollars intended for the public school system to fund private and religious schools.
On June 12, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) considered several amendments to its reauthorization bill, called the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013. One of those amendments, proposed by Sen. Rand. Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), would have allowed Title I funding -- possibly as much as $14 billion -- to go to private and religious schools.
Leading up to the vote, CFI collaborated with colleagues in the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE) to write a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the HELP Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking member, to explain why we strongly oppose vouchers. Several member groups of the NCPE also worked together to lobby key senators. In the end, the amendment failed 14-8.
CFI and the NCPE are now focused on lobbying members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which will consider its reauthorization bill on June 19.
These bills will likely not receive a full floor vote until the fall, at which time new amendments could be proposed. CFI remains dedicated to defending public education as a common good, and protecting taxpayer dollars from being used for private and sectarian religious education. We will keep our supporters updated as the situation develops.