Scott Tibbs

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Vouchers invite government strings

To the Editor:

The Supreme Court ruling that voucher programs for primary and secondary schools are constitutional was correct. There is nothing unconstitutional about the government contracting with a private organization to provide a service. In this case, parents choose where they want their children to be educated, and the government pays the private or religious school to provide an education to the child. Despite clichés bring thrown about in the media, the Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state.

However, while school vouchers are constitutionally permissible, implementing vouchers for the purposes of providing "school choice" is not a good idea. The implications for religious freedom are significant and must be carefully considered. When the government gives money to a school, the government then has an angle with which to influence or, worse, to dictate the operations of that school. Christian schools that accept government funds via vouchers put themselves at risk of having the government demand that they remove Biblical instruction, prayer, or other religious elements from their curriculum in return for those funds.

School choice is an excellent idea, and introducing market forces into the educational monopoly would improve all schools through competition. However, we should pursue alternative methods of allowing low-income parents to choose where they can find the best education for their children that don't put religious schools at risk of intrusive government regulations.