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November 13, 2007

‘School choice’ debate

Becky Dunn (11/10, Letters) of the Children’s Educational Alliance of Missouri misrepresents the “school choice” debate.

At their own expense, every parent has the choice to send children to private schools. The constitutional debate is about use of coerced tax money for support of private or religion institutions.

In America, the support of religion is to be voluntary.

In 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, “The establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment means at least this ... no tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.”

Gene Garman
Master of divinity
Pittsburg, Kan.

Comments

Casady

"I've always wondered what would happen if even in one area, perhaps like the Olathe school district if every child that attends a private school all showed up at a public school that first day of school."

My guess is that you would see a heck of a rise in average test scores.

kcstar_is_one_sided

I've always wondered what would happen if even in one area, perhaps like the Olathe school district if every child that attends a private school all showed up at a public school that first day of school. By law, the school would have to deal with all of students as currently they know that they are getting money from every taxpayer, but are only building schools for those not attending private schools.

I think you'd see discussions of school choice real fast.

zenozac

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

That is what the 1st amendment says. Courts are always open to being overturned. If you give money to only certain private schools I can see that as an issue.

Engineer

As with many court decisions the lay person looks in vain for wording in the Constitution supporting the quoted 1947 decision. The First Amendment does not say this in its plain English. But accepting and abiding by the decision, there is nothing in it to prohibit allowing a tax credit to those who actually send children to private schools while they are doing so. The children, by not attending the public schools, are saving the public school system the cost of trying to educate them, whether or not it is actually capable of doing so to the children's best advantage.

 
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