Terry Lewis: Vouchers hinder education progress

July 10, 2014 

We learned from the June 26 news article “Private school vouchers awarded” that many parents are pleased that their children will get a taxpayer-funded religious education. So much so that the top 10 private schools chosen in North Carolina are religious schools. This follows national trends that vouchers skew heavily toward religious schools.

This all derives from the grievously flawed 2002 Zelman v. Simmons-Harris Supreme Court decision, one of many 5-4 splits along familiar lines. The conservative justices used the contrived logic that government giving money directly to a religious school is not constitutional, but government giving parents money, who in turn give it to a religious school is perfectly constitutional. The end result is that the government, through our tax dollars, is advancing the establishment of religion by indoctrinating children in a belief system.

Public school funding is declining, and public school teachers toil at poverty wages. Meanwhile, my tax dollars are going to buy Bibles and Qurans while other developed countries fund STEM initiatives and computers. Our children are being siloed into schools where their classmates not only look like them but also have the same beliefs. The end result is a more divided nation, a less-educated nation, an America in decline.

Terry Lewis

Chapel Hill

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