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Congress Should Oppose Fundamentalist Vouchers Amendment

Posted by libhom Friday, March 06, 2009

One of the reasons why allowing conservative and rightist judges to sit on the Supreme Court is so awful is their lack of respect for the Establishment Clause of the US Consitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that the First Amendment does not merely prohibit the establishment of "a particular religion" or even "a religion," common propaganda claims of the militant fundamentalists. The First Amendment prohibits the "establishment of religion."

Voucher programs exist for the sole purpose of subsidizing religious schools, despite the wink and nod propaganda of the far right in this country. Vouchers have failed to improve educational performance, even in studies performed by voucher supporters. Given the amount of time religious schools waste on religious brainwashing, which reduces intellectual capacity, instead of education, this is hardly surprising.

Now, a bunch of luny Republicans want to continue to impose an unwanted voucher plan on the District of Columbia which DC doesn't want and never did. Congress should reject this nonsense and focus educational funding on education. Congress should also stop treating DC as a playpen for its most obnoxious and unproductive schemes.

Atheists shouldn't have to pay to subsidize religion. We have a right to live our lives as free from the oppression of religion as possible.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a 3/6/09 press release on the subject:
U.S. Senate Should Reject Ensign School Voucher Proposal, Says Americans United
Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchdog Group Says Washington, D.C., Program Forces Taxpayers To Fund Religious Schools And Diverts Attention From Public School Improvement

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has called on the Senate to reject Sen. John Ensign’s proposal to extend Washington, D.C.’s private school voucher plan.

The program, Americans United asserts, funds religious schools, diverts attention from public school improvement and has not raised student achievement.

“The sad truth is, this fight is not about helping kids in D.C. or anywhere else,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It’s about ideology. Some people just don’t like public schools and want to use vouchers to funnel public funds to religious and other private schools.

“The American people have rejected this approach over and over again at the ballot box,” Lynn continued. “The Senate should reject school vouchers as well. Our focus should be on improving public schools, not undercutting them through vouchers.”

D.C.’s federally funded voucher plan was foisted on the District of Columbia by private school advocates in the Bush administration in 2004. It was initially funded by Congress for five years as an experiment.

The program is due to expire this year, but some senators, notably U.S. Sens. Ensign (R-Nev.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), are pushing to continue it.

Ensign has put forward Amendment 615 to the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 1105) that would have the effect of extending the program. The matter could face a Senate vote as early as Monday.

Lynn noted that some voucher supporters have resorted to extreme rhetoric. Yesterday, DeMint said during a news conference that most D.C. public school students end up joining gangs.

“If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C., chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating,” DeMint said.

On March 3, Americans United sent a letter to every senator, urging them to vote against Ensign’s amendment.

“Senator Ensign’s amendment would open the door to the indefinite funding of the expired D.C. voucher program even though it has been proven ineffective, would harm civil rights and civil liberties, and would strip necessary accountability standards needed to fix identified problems that exist in the current program,” asserted the letter.

AU’s letter notes that reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007 and 2008 show that the academic achievement of D.C voucher students is no better than that of students attending D.C. public schools.

In addition, a November 2007 report by the General Accounting Office criticized the program, finding that “accountability and internal control were inadequate.”

Rush Limbaugh's wholly owned political party gets more and more offensive every day.



  1. Lew Scannon Says:
  2. If there were an all powerful God, and this is what He wanted, then His will would be done, with out having to take money from US taxpayers.
    So either God doesn't want this, or He doesn't exist. I'm happy with either answer.

  3. GDAEman Says:
  4. Vouchers: A slippery slope.

  5. I love that neo-cons say progressives are "activist judges" yet when they amend the constitution to fit their will, they are just upholding the constitution. They can't have their cake and eat it too.

  6. Anonymous Says:
  7. Never been a fan of vouchers. I think they just end up hurting public education in the long term.

  8. Anonymous Says:
  9. i just googled "congress cancels DC vouchers" and found this
    montessori, magnet and charter schools are not religous
    giving families money and empowering them with CHOICE is true freedom of CHOICE (pretty sure choice is in the constitution), this is preffered to not slamming dangerous and failing schools down the throat of parents who dont neccessarily have the money or the means to move or send their kids else where, i dont see what God has to do with this lew, i dont get why this is a slippery slope, slippery slope refers to more government control but schools are already public, and what on earth is queer talking about, river we want to hurt the public schools because they need a wake up and an updating to say the least, theres more choices then just religious schools, even though they do prove to do it better, i go to a methodist college and they only make me take one religion course, to say all religious schools are fundamentalist is absurd, nevermind that they dont have to take the vouchers... you all need to do some more research and wake up

  10. libhom Says:
  11. Wow, so many factual errors in one anonymous post.

    The DC school vouchers law indeed did indeed include vouchers for private, religious schools.

    Studies funded by voucher supporters have consistently shown that sending kids to private religious schools does not improve educational performance.

    Vouchers are designed to only go to religious schools. The amount of money is not enough for the high quality non-sectarian private schools. It's just enough for the religious schools.

    Sending kids to religious schools for brainwashing is hardly "freedom."

    Also, vouchers are a violation of the freedoms of atheists, because they force us to pay for religion.

    The poor writing in the anonymous post certainly undercuts the claim that private schools do a better job of educating people.



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