The Freedom From Religion Foundation is sounding the alarm over President Trump's educational agenda in his recent budget proposal. The "America First: A Blueprint to Make America Great Again" plan includes $250 million for a new federal voucher school program.
Vouchers are a backdoor means of funding religious schools with taxpayer money, undermining the principle of separation of state and church. Voucher programs in a number of states have proven that they overwhelmingly fund religious schools and take money away from public schools.
Vouchers programs are also notorious for their lack of accountability and outright fraud. A basic foundation of our republic is accountability to citizens and taxpayers. Public schools are managed under democratically elected school boards that assert public oversight. Yet with voucher schools, taxpayers cut the checks but have no say in how they are run.
The voucher proposal is just the foot in the door for a taxpayer-funded privatized education system. Once implemented by states, voucher programs have rapidly expanded. In Indiana, for instance, the number of voucher students has grown from zero in 2010 to more than 34,000 this year. Parents, taxpayers, and public schools should expect that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would expand the program significantly.
FFRF is calling on congressional leaders to remove any provisions that send taxpayer money to unaccountable religious voucher schools. The Trump administration should not be allowed to divert much-needed money away from our public school system.
Read FFRF's online brochure, "The Case Against School Vouchers," for more information.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nonprofit organization representing more than 27,000 members across the nation, including members in every state. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between religion and government, and to educate the public about nontheism.