Don't Give Tax Dollars to Religious Schools

Monday, June 30, 2008

Requiring families to raise their own funds to send their children to private religious schools is not punishing students, contrary to what The Post suggested in the June 24 editorial "A Choice for D.C. Children."

Continuing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) using federal tax dollars is, however, punishing Americans who agree with the Founders of our nation that we should not be forced to support any individual's church.

For parents who are looking for real school choice, there are public magnet and charter schools. The OSP does not offer school "choice" at all. When the Government Accountability Office published a study on the program last year, it concluded that Opportunity Scholarships fail to deliver the promise of school choice, because the bulk of participating schools are religious. Worse yet, the GAO also noted that the program lacks an opt-out clause for students wishing to avoid religious exercises.

The Post claimed that stopping this federal funding will amount to "depriving 1,900 poor children of an opportunity to choose their schools." But every student is welcome to stay in the school of his or her choice. Why would a school that is supposedly doing a good job be unable to raise private scholarship money for tuition? Students' religious training needs to be privately supported; given the cost of this program to taxpayers and to our secular tradition, extending a five-year mistake into a six-year one is just not justifiable.



Secular Coalition for America


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