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The Peril and Promise of School Vouchers

July 03, 2002

Re "School Vouchers Win Backing of High Court," June 28:

As a member of the Catholic Church, I am opposed to and fear government vouchers for private schools due to the "slippery slope" that is being created. Sure, now vouchers are primarily spent on Catholic schools, but how could we deny them to the many new private schools that could be created with this new source of taxpayer revenue, including those that teach ideas such as Islamic fundamentalism, white supremacy, communism and the overthrowing of traditional American ideals?

If we have to grant taxpayer-paid vouchers to Catholics, then why not to schools created by the followers of the likes of David Koresh, Osama bin Laden or Timothy McVeigh?

Do we really believe that the government is nimble enough to provide oversight over what is going on in all the private schools that will receive vouchers? Do we really want to trust our taxpayer money to fall into the hands of the people who might run these schools? Or do we even trust it going into the hands of the Catholic clergy, whose track record with children and adolescents has been very troubled as of late?

Marty Fricke

Santa Clarita

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The only blow delivered was to the education establishment (editorial, June 28). This ruling clearly articulates that state or federal funding of students for kindergarten through 12th grade is no different from funding for religious day care or religious university enrollment. Is The Times concerned that Cal Lutheran or Loyola allocates resources to "proselytizing and religious training, key parts of the mission of any religious school"? Is The Times against state-funded scholarships or federally funded research programs to these institutions? The Times has always been a strong advocate for education and champion of diversity in educational institutions. Yet you apparently fail to see the wisdom in allowing parents to select the best among education alternatives for their children.

Playing to the fears that charlatans will operate schools or that the equivalent of madrasas will be established is a cynical viewpoint. A more likely outcome will be the establishment of a wide variety of fine educational facilities that market-driven outcomes demand.

John A. Dmohowski

Pasadena

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The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the Cleveland school voucher program is a great victory for parents everywhere and for poor children especially. It means that no longer will a child be forced under a 12-year prison sentence to attend dangerous or dysfunctional schools where he cannot learn.

Parents have choice and power for the first time in 150 years. Free at last! Great God almighty, free at last!

Richard L. Tradewell

Costa Mesa

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How can government education vouchers be constitutional when government involvement in education is not constitutional?

Don Hull

Costa Mesa

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