There is nothing that disappoints me more than Conservatives pushing for the expansion of the school voucher program. I am vehemently opposed to the idea of school vouchers for several simple reasons.
1--The First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". The vast majority of school vouchers go to private, Christian and Catholic schools. Taxpayer money should not be used to fund promotion of religion. Having gone to Catholic schools for 8 years, I can tell you that even if you are "excused" from religious activities during the school day (an argument used to refute the First Amendment argument), the prayers, crucifixes and pictures are still there in front of you all day. And what do you think the reaction would be from the Religious Right if a Milwaukee or Madison mosque opened a school and vouchers were being used there? I'm guessing there would be far less celebrating the "freedom of choice" being exercised by those families.
2--It's nothing more than petty politics. School voucher supporters have an axe to grind with what they see as the "liberal control" of public schools. What better way to subvert that control than to bleed off students and put them in classrooms where they will learn the "values" that I mentioned in item number one? There is a reason this has been a Milwaukee and Racine program for such a long time.
3--Lack of accountability. Democrats are 100% correct in saying that private schools are not held to the same academic standards as public schools. For some reason, school voucher supporters believe that once a kid enters a religious school classroom they suddenly become smarter and more focused. The limited testing that has been done show absolutely NO difference between kids taken from the public schools and put in the private schools and those left in their "failing" schools.
4--It runs counter to everything else Conservatives promote--All of us promoting smaller government roll our eyes at plans to increase funding for subsidized day care, ObamaPhones and mortgage assistance programs--arguing that people should manage their money better to afford those things. We would never promote a program to use taxpayer dollars to buy cars for people so they don't have to use public transportation. And Republicans have been arguing most vehemently for a Constitutional amendment preventing the use of gas taxes and transportation fees from being used for anything other than roads. Yet, those same people want to take property taxes--which are constitutionally earmarked for City, County and PUBLIC SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION--and use them for another purpose!
Even if you disagree with my first three points, you have to agree with the fourth one--just for the sake of consistency.