Back to School for Vouchers?, 14 August 2007, National Catholic Register, North Haven, Connecticut
Back-to-school time sure has changed. In the 1950s and ’60s, back to school for Catholic children meant a walk or city bus ride to a parish school. Tuition was free or inexpensive the uniforms were often the biggest school expense for families.
Then the numbers of nuns in teaching orders plummetted just as federal and state regulations were putting new costs on schools. Parish schools had to hire laypeople, buy costly insurance and meet new codes. The costs made it impossible for Catholic schools to keep charging little or nothing for an education.
Today’s parents often feel forced to choose between public schools that were ineffective and private schools that were unaffordable. For Catholics with large families, it is worse. The home schooling movement has grown as many parents discovered that the only way to provide a sound education is to do it themselves.
But in inner-city neighborhoods, where poverty and single parent rates are high, home schooling is often impossible and public schools are much worse.
Meanwhile, in the school-voucher movement, a bright spot briefly flickered for poor parents, only to be snuffed out. School-voucher programs were conceived to give poor families access to some of the piles of taxpayer money confiscated for education.
posted by Valerie