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School Voucher Initiative

June 25, 1993

* In "Voucher Plan Gets High Marks," (Times Orange County Poll, June 13), your poll states that 89% contend vouchers would improve the schools. But 72% of those with a child in public school feel funding is inadequate. Yet the voucher would immediately take 10% of current state funding and give it to the 500,000 students currently attending private schools (at the expense of 4.7 million currently in public schools). Does anyone else see a $1.3-billion contradiction here?

Second, I wonder how many parents who wish to send their children to private schools have asked their children if they would study any longer/harder if they attended a private school? Since when did education in California stop being the result of good, old-fashioned hard work?

Let's call a spade a spade. The voucher is nothing more than another "entitlement"; this time, for families with students currently attending private schools.

ROBERT M. BATH

Mission Viejo

* It is unfortunate that the state Board of Education opposes the Parental Choice in Education Initiative. The reasons and scare tactics being used to oppose this measure just don't hold water. I guess they are in favor of squandering state tax money on their grossly inadequate public school system that is their brainchild.

It has been proven that for about half of what we pay to educate public school children, a superior education can be attained for students in private schools.

Cut the bureaucracy, cut the triple-dose administrations and put education funds where they should be, at the local level with parental choice. Vote "yes" on the Parental Choice in Education Initiative this November to save tax dollars and deliver quality education to our youth.

MARY ALTMANN

Agoura

* Your report on the November voucher referendum (May 21) noted that "only two states have placed similar measures on the ballot--Oregon in 1990 and Colorado in 1992--and both were soundly rejected."

Actually, similar measures were on the ballot in 1986 and 1982 in Massachusetts, in California in 1982, in the District of Columbia in 1981, in Michigan in 1978 and 1970, in Missouri in 1976, in Alaska in 1976, in Washington State in 1975, in Maryland in 1972 and 1974, in Idaho and Oregon in 1972, in Nebraska in 1970 and 1966, and in New York in 1967. In each case voters rejected tax aid for non-public education. (For details, see "Church Schools and Public Money: The Politics of Parochiaid," by Edd Doerr and Albert J. Menendez, Prometheus Books, 1991.)

If passed, the California voucher plan would cost the state's taxpayers at least $1.3 billion annually, while increasing school transportation costs tremendously.

In addition, the voucher plan would compel California voters to subsidize a great many sectarian schools whose social studies and English textbooks systematically denigrate people of non-fundamentalist faiths such as Catholics, Quakers, Unitarians, Episcopalians, etc.

EDD DOERR

Executive Director

Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring, Md.

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