I have been very concerned about public education for a long time especially the gradual dismantling of our public school system through the use of school vouchers.
In various forums (in person and on the “Intertoobz”) I have discussed with fellow free-thinkers the tactics of the religious “right” to undermine public school education in America and to divert funding to private (primarily religious) schools.
Some fellow atheists have opined that we need to have our own schools for atheists. Why? We already have schools, secular schools, open to all. It’s called our public school system. We don’t need a closed system to indoctrinate like the religious do. Freethought is anathema to the religious, forced segregation is the realm of the religious not freethinkers. Open questioning and skepticism is part of the freethought process so atheists don’t need a separate school system. Besides, from an economic perspective why would we want to develop a new infrastructure from the ground up when we already have schools in place? Let’s fix what we have. One place to start would be to get rid of the failure that is known as “Leave No Child Behind” but that’s for a later post.
We need to protect our public schools and stop the religious from diverting funding from schools that provide equal access to education for all students regardless of socio-economic, ethnic, or religious/non-religious background. This diversion is happening all over the country not only at the state level but also at the federal level.
Which leads me to the following action alert from The Secular Coalition of America
This Wednesday, March 30, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act. This legislation would reauthorize and expand the Washington, D.C. federal private school voucher pilot program, under which millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are funneled toward private religious schools that preach religious dogma and can discriminate against staff and students.
The Secular Coalition for America objects to voucher programs that use federal taxpayer dollars for private religious schools that proselytize to students and are exempted from federal civil rights laws, allowing them to discriminate in enrollment and hiring on the basis of faith.
More than 80 percent of students receiving federal vouchers through the D.C. program attend private religious schools with such civil rights exemptions but no opt-out option for religious instruction.
Currently, this is the only federal voucher program subsidized with your tax dollars. However, new legislation has been introduced to create a federal voucher program nationwide. The Secular Coalition for America takes no position on the use of vouchers for secular private education, but SCA opposes the re-authorization of the D.C. voucher program because it has resulted in the federally funded religious training of thousands of D.C. children.
Help SCA protest this blatant violation of the separation of church and state. Write to your representative in the U.S. House right now. Tell your representative to vote against programs that send your tax dollars to private religious schools.
Unless your congressman is Allen West because he will just do what the party tells him anyway.