The Supreme Court of Indiana ruled unanimously that their state’s voucher program was constitutional, much to the chagrin of Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss. “It isn’t the first time a supreme court has made a questionable call,” she wrote in her March 26 Answer Sheet post.
According to Strauss, voucher programs are bad for several reasons. First, she is quite offended that families can choose to use their funds at private religious schools who teach “anti-scientific notions” like creationism. Her article made no room for school voucher proponents, nor did it include any pro-voucher arguments.
But Joy Pullmann, the managing editor of School Reform News (a publication of The Heartland Institute), told the Business and Media Institute that in many instances, children at Christian schools are “better educated about evolution and intelligent design” because the teachers teach both sides, including the strengths and weaknesses of evolution.
While Strauss was on her anti-creationism soapbox, she failed to consider whether or not these religious schools actually accomplish what they are supposed to – such as teaching children to read and write.
Strauss also attacked vouchers with a 2012 Washington Post examination of the D.C. voucher program and noted that it found many families sent their children to unaccredited schools in “unconventional settings,” like schools being held in converted homes. Her bottom line was that “public funds should go to public school,” but her article didn’t give much consideration to how poorly many students are faring in the public school system or the right of parents to seek other solutions.
Pullmann pointed out that the public school system is already accredited, but is still failing. This is the very reason voucher programs and the school choice movement is getting any traction to begin with.