This is the federal school voucher fight in 2018. Betsy DeVos, the religious right, and the hyperpartisan Heritage Action are going all-out to muscle this bill into law as a first step toward voucherizing our public education system.
Right now, both chambers of Congress are considering a bill that would raid our public education system to pay for religious indoctrination in private schools, hitting military families the hardest. The bill (S. 2517 in the Senate and H.R. 5199 in the House) diverts funding from the federal Impact Aid program to create a voucher scheme that would reimburse parents for private educational expenses.
Impact Aid is a highly successful, bipartisan program that helps ensure access to a quality public education for every child in a federally-impacted school district. In districts where property tax revenue is scarce due to the presence of military facilities or other federal land, Impact Aid provides critical assistance. This funding is absolutely crucial for schools that educate children from military families. Diverting money from Impact Aid to fund a private voucher scheme would force taxpayers to subsidize religious education by siphoning funding from public, secular schools.
79 percent of privately schooled children attend schools that have a religious mission, which means that if this bill becomes law, most of the raided taxpayer funds will go to religious schools. American taxpayers should never be forced to fund the indoctrination of other people’s religious beliefs.
As a Marine veteran, I can attest that military families make incredible sacrifices to support their loved ones in harm’s way. Their children’s right to a quality secular education shouldn’t be one of those sacrifices.
Nor should taxpayers fund discrimination on the basis of religion, income, disability, special needs, or any of the other categories that private schools are permitted to discriminate against.
Passing this bill would open the floodgates to subsidized religious indoctrination. If Heritage Action can convince Congress to inflict their voucher scheme on military families, they’ll have set the stage to expand vouchers across the country.
CFI urges you to call your representatives today to tell them to oppose these bills, S. 2517/H.R. 5199, and to keep public dollars in public schools. To ensure that your voice is heard, we encourage you to call their offices in Washington, D.C. right now. All you need to do is call (202) 224-3121 with your zip code to be connected to your elected officials. If you are unable to call, please use our action alert system to send your representatives a written message.