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The Two Problems With the New Push for Vouchers

America's educational system isn't what it used to be. Our country was once known around the world for its stellar schools and teachers, which is part of the reason why so many people immigrated to this country in the first place. But after decades of budget cuts and lax regulation, the bulk of our nation's school system now leaves much to be desired.

Legislators and parents alike are grasping for solutions to this problem, with some unfortunately coming to the conclusion that vouchers are the best way to reform and improve our educational system. The first critical shortcoming of voucher programs is that they divert scarce public funds to help a small group of students at the expense of other students, who must then try to continue in schools that now have even less money with which to try and provide a quality education. The second central drawback of vouchers is that they often are used to fund religious education, and that situation results in taxpayer dollars being inappropriately filtered into indoctrinating kids in one brand of religion. And on top of that, such religious schools aren't subject to the same regulations that public schools face, which is why some fall far below public schools in terms of safety and performance. 

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal recently pushed for a voucher program that would allow state funds to be used to pay for religious schools. While taxpayer funding of religious schools should be unconstitutional and is bad public policy, Gov. Jindal's overhaul of the state's education system was still approved by the state legislature. Everything was fine until one of the state representatives that voted for the bill, Rep. Valarie Hodges, discovered that the new law might include taxpayer support of Muslim schools.

To read the rest of this Huffington Post article by American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, click here.