Church and State separation ignored as billions in taxpayer dollars now go to religious schools via vouchers

By Donald A. Collins | 5 June 2024
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

As we find less money for public schools around the nation, it has now been proven the vast extent of government money that now goes to religious schools.

In a landmark June 5th report in the Washington Post entitled “Billions in taxpayer dollars now go to religious schools via vouchers”.

The article begins with this startling statement

Billions in taxpayer dollars are being used to pay tuition at religious schools throughout the country, as state voucher programs expand dramatically and the line separating public education and religion fades.

School vouchers can be used at almost any private school, but the vast majority of the money is being directed to religious schools, according to a Washington Post examination of the nation’s largest voucher programs.

Vouchers, government money that covers education costs for families outside the public schools, vary by state but offer up to $16,000 per student per year, and in many cases fully cover the cost of tuition at private schools. In some schools, a large share of the student body is benefiting from a voucher, meaning a significant portion of the school’s funding is coming directly from the government.

It is worth understanding that this is a national effort to eliminate church and state separation.

Fortunately, there are efforts to expose and stop this massive assault on misuse of public tax dollars used to indoctrinate children with specific religious beliefs. Many parents are of course happy to have this happen, being of primarily Christian faiths.

Pennsylvania also has a large program, but state data does not show which schools families choose. Studies of states with smaller programs such as one in North Carolina and another in Illinois show that their payments, like those of larger programs, are concentrated toward religious schools.

The largest conservative state without a program — Texas — moved closer to one Tuesday when several Republicans who had opposed vouchers were defeated in legislative runoffs by pro-voucher candidates.

Supporters say these programs give parents more choices and that religious schools are receiving this money because parents see these schools as the right place for their children.

“It’s the parents’ money to use as they see is best,” said Brian Hickey, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Ohio. “We don’t necessarily see it as taxpayer money.”

Anti-voucher cases will certainly not be upheld if they are heard by our Catholic or Christian Supreme Court majority gets to rule.

Read more:

To critics, the burgeoning number of taxpayer-financed religious students adds up to an unwelcome mingling of government and religion, and a drain on dollars that could support public schools, which unlike private schools are required to serve all students. That occurs both when public school students use vouchers to attend private schools — meaning their public schools lose per-pupil funding — and when the state spends large amounts of money on students whose families would otherwise pay private school tuition themselves.

A coalition of Ohio public school districts is suing the state to halt its program, charging among other things that it depletes resources meant for public schools. “Because public funds are finite, funding EdChoice Program Vouchers … inevitably depletes the resources designated by the legislature for educating Ohio’s public school students,” the suit alleges.

Vouchers have not led to a gutting of spending on public schools, partly because state budgets have been relatively healthy. But critics fear that cuts are coming as voucher spending rises.

In Arizona, for instance, the cost of universal vouchers has exceeded the $624 million budgeted for this year, contributing to a budget hole that lawmakers have not yet said how they will fill. That budget crunch could affect public school spending and certainly makes any increases unlikely at a time when public schools are struggling, said Beth Lewis, director of Save Our Schools Arizona, which opposes vouchers.”

Read this entire article here.

Another related article makes the point about the intent to merge church and state in violation of cherished Constitutional principles.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine tuition program that does not allow public funds to go to religious schools, the court’s most recent decision elevating concern about discrimination against religion over constitutional worries about the separation of church and state.

The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the majority and the court’s three liberals in dissent.

The case involves an unusual program in a small state that affects only a few thousand students. But it could have far greater implications as the more conservative court systematically adjusts the line between the Constitution’s protection of religious exercise and its prohibition of government endorsement of religion.

Under Maine’s program, jurisdictions in rural areas too sparsely populated to support secondary schools of their own can arrange to have nearby schools teach their school-age children, or the state will pay tuition to parents to send their kids to private schools. But those schools must be nonsectarian, meaning they cannot promote a faith or belief system or teach “through the lens of this faith,” in the words of the state’s department of education.

Roberts said that approach could not survive the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.

“There is nothing neutral about Maine’s program,” he wrote. “The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools — so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the dissenters, answered, “This Court continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.”

You can read a state-by-state level of such spending here.

Clearly this will be a difficult trend to stop as both parties gain from ignoring this humongous beech of traditional law.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?”, “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”, “Economic Growth: A Cancer on all Earthly Life”, “On the Precipice of Political Disaster in 2024” and “Democracy at Red State Risk”.

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