March 31, 2009

Arizona Rejects School Vouchers

ICT's in EducationImage by pmorgan via Flickr

I know that there are many opinions on the subject of school vouchers and that some see them as a perfectly acceptable way of improving the educational experience of their children. I tend to see vouchers, frequently pushed by Christian extremists in the U.S., as a systematic strategy for destroying public education, largely perceived as a secular threat. I have no problem whatsoever with families opting for private schools. I do however have a problem with my government funding religious and other private schools.

I was happy to see the Arizona Supreme Court strike down two school voucher programs in that state in Cain v. Horne. According to Rev. Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State,
This important decision reflects our best traditions. It upholds the right of taxpayers to support only the religious institutions of their choice. Public funds should be spent at public schools.
According to AU's press release, residents of Arizona are fortunate in that they are one of 37 states with fairly strong provisions in their state constitution prohibiting them from funding religious schools. It seems that vouchers may face an uphill battle in such states, and that is a good thing.

I know that some people object to funding public education on the grounds that they do not have children and do not like the idea of paying for other people's children to go to school. I invite such people to visit Mississippi for awhile to experience the results of substandard education firsthand. Education not only is a powerful tool for improving the economy and improving our ability to compete globally; it reduces a variety of social ills associated with widespread idiocy.

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