Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pasco County School Board Elections: Vouchers

Our local Pasco County School Board elections are coming up, and as always the idea of school vouchers pops up with the candidates (Don Stephenson is one example). I always found this approach questionable, since it diverts public, tax driven funds from our public schools (where our tax dollars belong) into poorly controlled, private schools, religious in nature in many instances.

Thankfully, by a very wise decision of the good and smart people who wrote the US Constitution, public funds should never be used for religious purposes. However, religious people from all kinds of backgrounds argue differently, trying to prove that they, and their religion, deserves better. Except, when they find out that this slippery slope could also lead to other religions using the tax funds, and sometimes those religions are not as "popular" in this country.

People in Louisiana are finding out this exact thing right now, as reported by The Livingston Parrish News:
Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Watson, says she had no idea that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s overhaul of the state’s educational system might mean taxpayer support of Muslim schools.
“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday.
“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges said.
Hodges mistakenly assumed that “religious” meant “Christian.”
It is funny to see how their minds change and suddenly they are not so much for a "religious freedom", because it is not their own religion that's free.

I think we should keep it in mind when it's time to vote in the upcoming elections, and make sure that we select those candidates who are truly concerned about our public schools and do not support diverting our tax dollars to private schools and other organizations (that includes the very flawed Florida Religious Freedom, Amendment 8).