Public purse shouldn't fund private schools The recent...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 07, 2002

Public purse shouldn't fund private schools

The recent Supreme Court decision allowing public funding of parochial schools sets a dangerous precedent, independent of its relationship to the important debate on the separation of church and state ("School voucher program upheld," June 28).

Public schools report to the people, either directly or through elected officials. Thus the public has control over what is taught in public schools.

This is not true of parochial schools; the public has no control of their curriculum.

Allowing public funding of parochial schools may lead to the American public paying for the indoctrination of young minds in ideas that are opposed to principles and ideals of this country.

Students in parochial schools may be taught that America is the Great Satan or inaccurate history or science and might not be taught important subjects at all. And there will be little oversight by the people financing that education, the American public.

Certainly, parochial schools have a right to teach what they will to their students, but they should not be financed in this effort by Americans who have no control over course content or the schools' faculty.

John D. Sorkin

Pikesville

Vouchers decision adds to options

It has always been unjust to deny families funding for schooling that accords with their religious convictions, but a long history of wrong-headed interpretations of the First Amendment has kept parents from choosing the schools they would prefer for their young ones.

But now the 5-4 Supreme Court decision offers more space for pluralism and diversity than is possible in a monolithic system ("School voucher program upheld," June 28).

In our free country, why has tax money been available only to schools that exclude religious values? Why are religious issues muted in public schools when other controversial topics get a hearing? Why such opposition to tax dollars used for kindergarten to grade 12 when government funds pay for tuition at religious colleges?

For too long our courts have acted as though the Constitution favored hostility rather than neutrality toward religion. With this historic decision, freedom of choice comes within reach of more citizens.

Nicholas J. Carroll

Crofton

In his dissent on the Cleveland school voucher decision, Justice David Souter said: "Something is influencing choices in a way that aims money in the religious direction" ("Voucher question far from resolved," June 30).

Could that "something" be the desire of most parents for schools that reinforce their deeply held religious and cultural values (which government schools cannot do) as opposed to the latest politically correct mantra?

John D. Schiavone

Kingsville

Only public schools are open to all

The decision of the five right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court that the Cleveland school voucher program is perfectly OK will just encourage the proliferation of such nonsense elsewhere.

There's nothing good or desirable about vouchers. When you divert public tax dollars to private and religious schools, it makes less money available for the only schools we, the public, control (our public schools) and makes it that much more difficult to improve those schools.

Despite draining away millions for religious and other private schools in Cleveland, a study of the situation showed that vouchers didn't improve the situation.

The people supporting vouchers can talk about helping disadvantaged children all they want. It's not happening. Private schools don't even have to open their doors to disadvantaged children if they don't want to do so.

It's only the public schools whose doors are open to all.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

It's humane, useful to accept immigrants

I would like to applaud the column on the importance of accepting immigrants into Baltimore ("Baltimore's salvation lies in immigration," Opinion Commentary, June 19).

As a second-generation daughter of an immigrant family who migrated to the United States from Mexico, I am well aware of the stressors and struggles that immigrants experience while adjusting and acclimating to a new environment and culture.

To have a community that would welcome immigrants by providing acceptance and opportunities for growth and to become responsible and contributing individuals would not only be humane but also advantageous for all.

Lucille Romeo

Havre de Grace

Visitors will come if we sell city, state

It seems every city, town and hamlet in the United States has a convention center. And, in a number of instances, those cities are expanding or replacing the ones they have.

Looking at this, it occurs to me that we are misguided in our perspective regarding Baltimore and tourism. Our thinking, like that of so many other cities, is distorted. This "build a bigger center and they will come" thinking is obviously wrong, and always has been ("A convention hotel ... ," editorial, June 17).

The convention center is merely a resource, like so many other aspects of the city.

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