Tag Archives: School Vouchers
Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo February 2015

Protecting the Rights of Students with Disabilities in Schools

Throughout February, we are commemorating Jewish Disability Awareness Month, a unique opportunity to highlight the ways that we as a community can be more inclusive and supportive of people with disabilities. It is important that we keep in mind all the many facets of how so many of the issues we work on at the RAC uniquely affect people with disabilities. For example, you might not know about the connection between the rights of students with disabilities and private school vouchers, but there are serious concerns regarding how the preponderance of “school choice” programs will affect these students. Read more…

church street and state street signs pointing in different directions

The Harm that Vouchers Cause

This week is so-called School Choice Week (January 25-31), when pro-vouchers advocates try to take over the narrative and promote their views that the privatization of public funding into vouchers and tax credits promotes educational opportunities and expands choices for parents and students.

They could not be more wrong. Read more…

church street and state street signs pointing in different directions

Two Birds with One Stone

In this age of intersecting social justice imperatives — when advocates are looking for important overlaps between traditionally defined policy areas — it’s important to remember one key issue that has serious repercussions for both our public school system and the separation of church and state: vouchers.

Vouchers (and some private school tax credits), known to some as “school choice” efforts, essentially take money away from public schools and funnel it towards private, often parochial schools. The public schools system epitomizes the American values of opportunity and equality, and the Jewish people have historically been major supporters of our public school system in keeping with the values laid out by Maimonides who wrote that “any city that does not have a school in it shall be cut off [all contact] until they find a teacher for the children” (Hilchot Talmud Torah 2:1).

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church street and state street signs pointing in different directions

Oppose Harmful Vouchers Legislation in Congress

During School Choice Week in January, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced two bills that would transform the public education system as we know it. By privatizing a majority of funds for public schools, The Scholarships for Kids Act (S. 1968/H.R. 4000) and The Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education Act (S. 1909) (or the “CHOICE Act”) would together turn a significant amount of federal education funds into vouchers.

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voucher editorial cartoon

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

The fight to increase school voucher programs has recently resurfaced. We’ve seen more discussions in the last few weeks in courts, state legislatures and even Congress. Although there are setbacks, for the most part we are fortunately seeing the facts win out—the evidence that not only do vouchers threaten religious liberty, but they are ineffective from an educational standpoint as well.

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large spoon made out of smaller spoons

Does Your School Serve Breakfast?

We frequently hear about the benefits of free or reduced-price school lunches, but what about breakfast? Join me in honor of National School Breakfast Week by learning a bit about why breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.

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School Vouchers: The Next Education Frontier?

School vouchers can be a tricky issue: the Supreme Court ruled that indirect voucher programs that put money in the hands of parents  are constitutional, but that direct government funding of private, and often religious schools, is not acceptable.  So if government voucher funds are given to parents who then use them to pay for the private school of their choosing, the funds can end up at Jewish day schools, Catholic high schools, Islamic institutions, or secular schools. This concept seems lost on one Louisiana state legislator, who enthusiastically supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program until she discovered that the ability of parents to use funds at “religious” school does not by definition mean Christian schools. Once she discovered that funds could be used at Islamic schools in particular, she changed her position and opposed the program. Read more…

President Obama Cuts Deal on D.C. Vouchers—Again


It was reported yesterday afternoon that President Obama has made a deal with Congressional leadership to continue funding the D.C. voucher program. In his fiscal year 2013 budget, President Obama asked for no new funding of the program, but the recently announced deal represents an about-face: Not only will the deal continue the program for another year, but it will also increase enrollment by about 85 students and expedite the approval of children into the program. The program, created in 2004 by Congress, is the only federally directed voucher program in the nation.  Many students in the D.C. voucher program spend the funds they receive at parochial schools, which, to many advocates—including the Reform Movement—constitutes an obvious violation of church-state separation protected by the First Amendment. Read more…