School Vouchers Subsidize Religion? Here's Why This Perception About Private Schools Is Misguided

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 27, 04:00 am
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School vouchers helped private religious schools flourish, according to a study. PICTURED: Shannon Woisnet, 7-years-old, from Cleveland, Ohio, holds up a sign in support of school vouchers.
(Photo : Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Parents on school voucher programs for their kids rely on federal funds. A recent study says this system benefits mostly private religious schools, so in essence, it is like subsidizing religion. A Philosophy professor, however, says this perception about private schools is "misguided."

A study, published via the National Bureau of Economic Research, revealed the rising number of parents availing the school voucher program boosted the operations of mostly Catholic private schools. The findings alluded the government provided subsidy for religion through the school voucher system.

"The data suggest that vouchers offer hope to struggling churches, but that hope comes at a price," Daniel Hungerman of Notre Dame said, as per its press release. "Vouchers keep some parishes open by making churches act more like schools."

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos intend to expand the government's investments in school voucher programs across the states. This means more parents will benefit from tax-funded government money so they can send their children to a private and religious school of their choice.

The Constitution upholds the separation of the Church and the State under the First Amendment. Laws prohibit the government from favoring any religion in any form but those who argue against school vouchers point out this specific violation. They believe school vouchers keep religious schools afloat using tax payer's money.

Philosophy professor Chris Freiman wrote via Learn Liberty that such a perception is misguided. School vouchers go to parents. Government money do not directly go to private religious schools. It is the parents' independent choice to send their children to these schools.

"When government officials decide to allocate money to a sugar producer, that's a subsidy," Freiman wrote. "When Jill spends some of her government-funded unemployment benefits on a bag of sugar," he added, "that's Jill making a private decision about how to spend her entitlement."

Freiman further argued food stamps work like school vouchers yet no one opposed to this system using the religion card. What do you think of the professor's points? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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