What rights to set their own curriculum do parochial schools give up when they accept students on government voucher programs? I just got an email from CatholicVote.com claiming that President Trump and Congress were going to do something to make school choice possible across the entire nation.
It quotes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops taking this position:
“Parents—the first and most important educators—have a fundamental right to choose the education best suited to the needs of their children, including public, private, and religious schools. Government, through such means as tax credits and publicly funded scholarships, should help provide resources for parents, especially those of modest means, to exercise this basic right without discrimination.”
But that seems like a open invitation for government overreach in the name of putting kids in seats at schools with dwindling enrollments. Also the Homeschool Legal Defense Association has fought against vouchers for homeschoolers claiming that it would constitute intrusion into homeschooling families.
There have been various programs, with various names, designed for the purpose of using public funds to pay for all or part of the costs of students’ tuition at private or religious schools. Those in support of vouchers say they increase “school choice” or “parent choice.” HSLDA opposes vouchers as they are not a free hand-out from the government and will regulate parental freedoms. To date, no national voucher system has been established, nor is a state voucher system available to homeschools.
So, is any side considering religious liberty protections in the whole school choice debate? Because it me it seems like a fight between people who thing school choice is a good thing because it sticks it to the public education system and people who think school choice is a bad thing because it feels like it violates the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.