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Should We Work for Vouchers?

By E. Ray Moore July 27, 2009

Many good Christian folk favor vouchers, but this policy will do two bad things:

1. Create a new entitlement program, making families and Christian schools dependent upon government aid. They will say they are just getting back their own money, but this is not really true. In many cases the tax-funded voucher will be greater than the school taxes paid by a family so it's other people's money too. Vouchers are "school stamps" or a new form of welfare.

2. Threaten the autonomy of the private and Christian schools.  Government aid always creates controls. It's inevitable. Some families and schools say we will only accept vouchers...if no strings are attached, but that's an impossibility because the voucher itself is a chain binding the school to the government. If, by some governmental mistake, the program started with no "strings" it would eventually morph or become a government control program and harm private and Christian schools. It is a type of Trojan horse.

Some say their family will get the voucher, not the school or institution, so it is safe, in that it is grant to their family, not to the school itself. The Grove City Supreme Court case in 1984 says, "Not so." The Court defined such an indirect grant to a family same as direct aid  and that if funds used at the institution, in this case,  Grove City College, the government could dictate policy and impose rules. This is the most important single case that pertains to this issue. It is clear how the government views this issue and how the Supreme Court ruled. It doesn't make any difference what the family says in this case; it's what the government or Court says that matters.

Some tax credit programs may not be potentially dangerous as you simply keep your own money or hold back your school taxes for your own child to attend a private school, but even these programs can be used to control and harm private and Christian education and must be analyzed and studied carefully.

Because the left, the educational establishment, and NEA types now oppose the tax-funded voucher, many naive Christians and conservatives think it must be a good idea. The left currently oppose them as they think the voucher threatens the monopoly of K-12 public education, but I oppose them too because they threaten the autonomy of K-12 private and Christian education. This is one of those odd moments when the left and right agree on a policy but for different reasons. As the mainstream GOP and conservatives gain political ground for the voucher, watch for the left to switch positions and advocate the voucher, which is, indeed, already happening now. The left will support them but they will be so dangerous and onerous that even a blind man could see the danger, but the naive conservatives and Christians will go on into the new trap set by the left.

I favor private vouchers or scholarship programs by churches, foundations, corporations or businesses.

If more Christians, churches, and pastors had a Biblical worldview on the three main jurisdictions (family, church and civil government), that is, the family and Church have the responsibility of K-12 education, not the government, this issue would be easier to deal with. But too many Christian people still accept the legitimacy of K-12 public education so they are easy prey for the tax-funded voucher idea. They are already accepting an entitlement called K-12 public education so why not accept the tax-funded voucher. As in everything in life, it's first a Biblical and theological question.

Also see How Would People Pay for Private Schooling? What about Vouchers? and Why Christian Education Is Important.

For in-depth discussion see “Vouchers Do Not Equal Victory (Neither are Charter Schools or Tax Credits)”.

A related subject is How About Education Savings Accounts?

Also see Vouchers: A Thorn By Any Other Name.

Back to Money/Financial Issues.