Parochial Concerns

I couldn't disagree more with Matt's casual acceptance of voucher schools as a way to increase funding for parochial schools.  He seems to present it as an issue of choice -- this lets parents choose what sort of school to send their children to.  But that's not exactly true, it's the subsidization of certain choices over others.  How many Buddhist voucher schools are there?  Jewish?  Hindu?  Muslim?   

Not that many I'd expect.  If the government wants to make it avowed policy to support a buffet of religious schools, that's fine -- they can subsidize all manner of institutions and implement the transportation options that'd allow children to attend them.  But insofar as vouchers mainly fund schools operated on the basis of one faith (and the many denominations within it), that's too close to state sponsored religion, and I can't accept it.  This is not to say that we're dealing with an explicit discrimination against other faiths -- we're not, it's a numbers question.  But even so, the government shouldn't be legislating in such a way that members of one faith are given subsidies and options that members of another aren't.  While the demographics of the country may ensure that majority groups inevitably have more opportunities than others, it shouldn't be an outcome of federal policy.

Further, the reality of vouchers, that they simply let a thousand parochial flowers bloom, is its own problem.  With the Lutherans going to the Lutheran school, the Muslims to the Islamic institutions, the Catholics to their place, the Baptists to theirs, and so on, you get a Balkanization of schooling, where each group is schooled within itself and little contact with other faiths is needed.  And while private schools have been doing that on a small scale for a long time, I've no interest in seeing the process accelerated through federal funds.

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