For Immediate Release
Americans United Blasts Bush Administration for Report Urging More Tax Aid to Religious Schools
Keep Emphasis on Public Education, Says Church-State Watchdog Group
WASHINGTON - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today criticized
the White House for issuing a report calling for massive new forms of
tax funding of religious schools.
The 164-page report,
"Preserving a Critical National Asset: America's Disadvantaged Students
and the Crisis in Faith-based Urban Schools," was produced by the White
House Domestic Policy Council. It calls for a sweeping plan of public
subsidy of religious education through vouchers, tax credits and other
forms of tax aid at both the federal and state levels.
"Government officials should focus on improving public schools, not
subsidizing religious education," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn,
executive director of Americans United. "The American people want
programs that boost public schools, not a bailout for private schools
that are unaccountable to the public."
The report calls for more voucher plans, blithely ignoring the fact
that there is little public support for them and that objective
research shows that existing voucher plans do not boost student
Going further, the report also calls for "faith-based" charter
schools that would advance religion. It offhandedly notes that such
schools "would likely require a number of changes in Federal and State
law" but fails to point out that rewriting the First Amendment would be
"This report is the last gasp of an administration stubbornly
convinced there is a ‘faith-based' solution to every problem," Lynn
remarked. "Given the state the Bush administration is in, I expect the
report to be quickly forgotten and that's for the best."
Lynn pointed out that 90 percent of American schoolchildren attend
public schools. He said the next administration should stop obsessing
over private education and return the focus to public education.