School vouchers

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Education vouchers, as used in Cleveland and other U.S. cities, permit parents of public school children to choose any public or private school for their children they wish. The presumption is that they will make a wiser choice about which school will help their children learn, than local or state bureaucrats would.

School voucher programs are most popular among inner-city blacks, and opposed most by the Democrats and teachers' unions.

The main secular argument against vouchers (and other such programs, like charter schools) is that they take money away from a given school, which makes it more difficult for the teachers to provide quality education for the remaining students. While the result of a voucher program is good for the students who are able to take advantage of it, it severely disadvantages the remaining students, staff, and faculty.

Another argument against school vouchers is the concern that private schools (which have the legal right to decide their own curriculum and who they will and will not accept as students in most cases, race being a significant exception) will use the vouchers to accept only high-achieving students of outstanding character (and, in the case of Christian schools, only those who are Christians and hold to the school's specific doctrinal position), leaving the public schools "saddled" with the responsibility for non-Christian students and Christian students holding to differing doctrinal views, students with learning disabilities and students who would pose "disciplinary risks" (the latter being very loosely defined depending on whether the Christian school wants a student or not; school voucher opponents claim that this is used as a backdoor method of rejecting students based on race).

School vouchers are also opposed among some Christian groups, on the belief that once a school begins taking government money, it allows the government to potentially end up dictating what the school (and, where applicable, its sponsoring church) can and cannot teach. Charles F. Johnson, a Fort Worth, Texas minister and head of Pastors for Texas Children (a group opposing school vouchers), made the following comment expressing his concerns about the potential for government abuse in the school voucher arena:[1]

"Religious liberty is a huge piece of Pastors for Texas Children,” he said. “We believe that if the state starts giving money to church schools, then the next step is the state’s going to tell that church school what curriculum they can use and the next step is to tell them what they can and cannot preach in the church school and what they can and can’t say in their congregation. We just don’t want the state getting their fingers into a church school that way."

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