In support of school vouchers

By Bishop David Ricken

It seems quite clear to me that public policies should support the best interests of parents and children. This is especially true when it comes to educating the young people in our communities. After all, parents are the primary educators of their children.

 

Thus, it is logical that parents should have a choice as to where their children attend school. By implementing a voucher system, public funds may be used by parents to pay for education at the school which they believe best meets their child’s needs. This would include the option of attending a private, faith-based school.

bpricken_headshot_new

Bishop Ricken

It has been shown that vouchers provide an economical way for a state to provide quality education. As a matter of fact, vouchers may save money for taxpayers. In many cases, vouchers cost less to provide than the per-pupil cost to educate a student in a public school.

In our current system, many parents actually end up paying twice for education. Tax dollars, including a percentage of property taxes, are paid to support public education. Then, parents must step up again to pay their children’s private school tuition and fees, if they choose to give them this faith- and values-based learning.

Most people can’t afford to pay for education twice. This becomes cost-prohibitive. Therefore, parents may often be left with no personal choice as to where their children attend school. It is unjust that a parent’s socio-economic status should limit these choices.

The Catholic Church stands for the principle of “subsidiarity” — meaning that, in many cases, the best decisions can be made at a local level. Government should not monopolize prekindergarten through 12th grade education. Rather, government funding should follow the individual student to the school selected by his or her parents. Government should, in fact, support parental choices when it comes to education.

I would encourage each of you to do more research on the advantages of vouchers for education. Make your voice heard by our local and state representatives. Let them know that you support the right of parents to choose where their children will be educated.

May God bless each and every one of you — parents, grandparents and guardians — who currently sacrifice to give the children in your lives the best possible education.