Written by Don Byrd

Via Religion Clause, the budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 offered by the White House includes expansive federal funding for school choice programs. If enacted, the $1.1 billion initiative would funnel unprecedented sums of taxpayer money toward private school tuition including religious education as part of a school choice plan allowing parents to choose private and public school options. The White House proposal is the first step toward a planned $100 billion in federal and state school voucher funding.

As I have discussed many times here at the BJC Blog, (most recently here and here) school “choice” programs sound like an expansion of freedom, but in reality are no friend to religious liberty.

Americans United’s Maggie Garrett said it well in response to this latest budget proposal:

“Vouchers violate the religious freedom of both taxpayers and religious schools. The government should not compel any citizen to furnish funds in support of a religion with which he or she disagrees – or even a religion with which he or she does agree. Vouchers also threaten the religious liberty and autonomy of religious schools, as vouchers open them up to government audits, monitoring, control and interference from which they would otherwise be exempt.”

For more on why school vouchers are a bad idea for both the church and the state, see this 2011 column from the BJC’s Holly Hollman.