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I've been very critical of the local government schools lately, and I have heard people argue that the failings of MCCSC are an argument for vouchers. I do not think this is a good idea.
First and most importantly, vouchers present a danger of government meddling in the affairs of Christian schools. "With government money comes government strings" might be a cliché, but it is true. If you do not believe that, ask the not-for-profit groups that are now subject to Bloomington's Living Wage Ordinance because they take grants from the city.
Vouchers "with no strings attached" may benefit Christian schools, but what happens if a Christian school becomes dependent on money from vouchers? Would the school have the courage to reject the money or would they give in? Once a Christian school has accepted vouchers, would they be forced to abide by any newly-implemented government regulations for the rest of the school year?
I graduated from Grace Baptist Academy in Angola, Indiana. Not only did we have a Bible class and chapel services, but our English, history and science curriculums were taught on a Biblical foundation. Physical education was done with an eye to the Lord, as Psalm 119:165 was the theme of gym class. Even the basketball team and cheerleading squads had an evangelistic mission in mind by setting a good example on the playing floor. It was no accident that our team was "The Ambassadors". I would not want my alma mater to be subjected to government regulations that would in any way restrict this under the banner of "separation of church and state".
Secondly, any plan to implement vouchers that goes through Congress is anti-federalist. American Conservatives have been advocates of states rights for two hundred years. The 1994 Republican landslide was fueled, among other things, by a desire for increased states' rights. Why, then, would we want to have the federal government involved in giving children vouchers to go to private schools, especially when there is nothing in the Constitution giving the federal government power in education?
Finally, vouchers are anticonservative. Vouchers represent another government program that will direct how tax dollars are spent. Money will have to be spent on monitoring where the money goes, keeping track of who gets the vouchers, and accounting for how much money is spent and how much to budget for.
I think competition could help the government school system, because schools would have to offer the best educational product in order to attract students and those that don't would lose money. There is a reason that Ivy League schools are held in higher regard than junior colleges. Getting Christian schools addicted to the narcotic of federal money is not the way to improve education in America.Related articles: