Therefore, the government is forcing children, of whatever faith, to learn its religion.
Not funding parochial schools is religious discrimination.
Either the government needs to fund religious schools equally or give every student a voucher to attend the public or private school of their choice.
This would not only end the discrimination, but may help all schools strive for improvement to attract students.
Rebecca D. Reynolds
No: first things first
More than a century ago, our society made a promise to provide a quality public education to all children. This policy is increasingly under attack.
Effective public schools require strong and sustained involvement. Initiatives that divert public money from public education and fail to lead to public school involvement will help only a select few.
This will lead to most students being educated in a public school system that must operate with fewer funds and supplies.
Public schools are the cornerstone of our democracy, promoting equity and opportunity. They were created to give every child a chance to learn and succeed -- not just the chosen few.
Maryland's priority should be to strengthen its public school system, not to erode the funding base that it must have. The future of public education is threatened by this plan to provide public funds to nonpublic schools.
The plan could lead to a two-tiered education system that will promote division and separation and negate the long struggle to desegregate our schools and society.
The $6 million to be diverted to non-public schools would be better used to replace the outdated, torn and unusable textbooks in our public schools.
The PTA respects the rights of parents to choose nonpublic education, but not at the expense of the public school system.
The writer is the Maryland PTA's vice president for legislative activity.
I do not agree with the plan to subsidize books and supplies for private schools.
We should not offer incentives for families choosing to avoid the problems of the public schools, for this inevitably leads to a smaller and less culturally diverse pool of students.
All children deserve the best possible education, one that is based on diversity and democratic ideals, not one in which financial resources are the only insurance of a quality education.
There is much debate as to how and why our public school system is in a less than desirable state. I believe much of this is a result of affluent families removing their children from the public realm.
The diversified nature of our state's children inherently teaches tolerance and acceptance of cultural and intellectual difference.
We should create incentives for those that have abandoned the public schools to return, rather than make it easier for more people to leave.
Taxes paid by the people as a whole should support only schools which are open to all.
Schools which serve a limited section of the population should be supported by that group and by the particular religious or other special interest communities they represent.
An educated citizenry is essential to a democratic society. Universal, free public education is charged with creating that citizenry.
With this charge, public schools serve everyone, regardless of whether they have children or what school they may attend.
Our job as taxpayers is to insist public schools fulfill their mission.
Jo Ann O. Robinson
I would fight for the right of anyone to send his child to parochial school. However, I am fighting more strongly against public support going to any parochial school.
The public school has been the most democratizing factor in our society. Today, more than ever, children have to learn to get along with others of diverse ethnic origins and religious beliefs.
The public schools need every cent they can get to hire the best teachers and give each and every student an up-to-date textbook and knowledge of electronic technology.
Mildred K. Sheff
As a parent of a child with physical and mental disabilities, who has no recourse but to use the public schools, I am adamantly opposed to the governor's plan to provide public tax dollars to private schools -- until all of the private schools are required to offer full-time educational programs for students with special needs.
Until they do, they are discriminating against disabled students and have no right to be subsidized by public funds in any way, shape or form.
Proponents of taxpayer aid to parochial schools suggest that limiting its use to purchasing such items as books and computers in some way justifies the aid.
But aid is aid. There is no way it can be compartmentalized. If money is designated for books, doesn't it follow that an equal amount is freed for other uses?
Parochial schools do not accept everyone -- problem students are steered elsewhere.
Any aid to them thus caters to a favored few.