Northwest NEWS

July 8, 2002

Editorial

What about vouchers?

by Lynn Harsh , Executive Director of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
   The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on school vouchers affirms that protecting children's opportunities for an excellent education is more important than protecting a system, no matter how revered the system is.
   It says that parents of all economic levels must have true choices regarding the education of their own children.
   The howls about erosion between the separation of church and state are vacuous. The First Amendment, misquoted by most voucher opponents, says that Congress may not make laws "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...."
   The high court ruled that giving parents the freedom to make choices that may include religious instruction is not the same as the government establishing religion.
   Insulating our schools from competition and consumer choices has been bad for education and bad for our country.
   The recent ruling is a victory for the principles that made our country great: competition in the marketplace and the right of individuals to make choices for themselves and their families.
   We won't be crossing the voucher bridge in Washington state anytime soon, however. Education officials have long used scare tactics to keep us on their reservation. Instead they should fight to unshackle public schools from costly and unnecessary regulations so they can compete fairly. Students and their parents are worth fighting for.