Strings on Vouchers
Prof. Steven D. Jamar, Dir. LRW Program
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Mon Feb 9 15:14:04 PST 1998
Actually, Richard, I don't care if my tax dollars go to support certain
types of parochial schools - ones where they teach science and history and
things other than fundamentalism or that the sun and stars revolve around
I do care if my tax dollars go to support parents teaching racism. I do
care if my tax dollars unduly favor one set of religious dogma over others
or none at all.
And I suspect that you and I would have some difficulty defining "core
notions of the human good and social responsibility" and I thought you were
not for the liberal concensus such as a regulatory state, state-sponsored
clean air and water, state sponsored tolerance of diversity, and the like.
But all that to one side, I am troubled by skimming of students. I am
troubled by religious criteria to attend schools. I am troubled by the
state abandoning its responsibility to us all (or our responsibility to us
Sometimes the only way to combat entrenched attitudes is through school.
Many students need teaching against racism, need teaching that others are
different and still valuable people, that a gun is not the best solution to
a dispute, that you should not beat your spouse or children, basic
nutrition and hygiene. Maybe in the fabulous state of Nebraska all the
children are delightful and enlightened and come from such families - but
it ain't so everywhere.
Schools are not perfect, but they do a lot of positive things, and can do
Let's not skim the most involved parents and teachers and students away and
leave the most needy to rot.
I know that is not a constitutional argument, but Richard's voucher polemic
cannot go completely unanswered every time.
> Steve says he doesn't want his tax dollars being used to create more
> Catholics or Jews, etc. Well, I don't want my tax dollars being used
> to pay for a one-size-fits-all common curriculum designed to shape the
> minds and hearts of all children in the way deemed best by the
> dominant political faction. Better to simply rely upon parents to
> choose the content of education and limit the role of government to
> funding education and regulating the content of education only to
> provide that parental choices "do not violate the core notions of the
> human good and of social responsibility on which there is liberal
> consensus." (See Gilles, 63 U.Chi. at 1033).
Steven D. Jamar
Professor of Law
Director, Legal Research & Writing Program
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
President, Legal Writing Institute
vox: 202-806-8017 fax: 202-806-8428
email: sjamar at law.howard.edu
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