Tax Support for Schools
law4ever at JUNO.COM
Tue Feb 17 09:31:22 PST 1998
Hi. I'm back after nearly a year away from the list. I see it's mostly
the same players (and somewhat the same subjects) as when I left :-).
Anyway, Prof. Maule raised what I think is an interesting point.
On Tue, 17 Feb 1998 11:04:41 EST Jim Maule <MAULE.Prof.Law at LAW.VILL.EDU>
>How many people who choose not to use public schools (and how many
>who would choose not to use public schools if they could afford it)
>do so for RELIGIOUS reasons? In contrast to issues of safety, quality
>of education, or sports opportunities?
My community (Diamond Bar, CA, Walnut Unified School District) has some
of the best schools in California, and there are no problems with safety,
shoot, nothing ever happens in Diamond Bar (the kids take to calling it
Diamond Bore). Yet my kids are in private school. Why? In my case,
purely religious reasons. Not because of fundamentalism (I'm not) or a
desire to have my child learn only the creation theory (even though I
believe it), but rather because so-called secular schools, and I've been
on the local campuses and seen it, teach religion that I object to. They
teach my kids to worship demons at halloween, elves at Christmas and
secularism the rest of the time. Since I want my kids to know the one
true God, I choose to immerse them in that in the hopes they will learn
That may well be a parochial attitude on my part, but that gives the list
one more data point to go by in determining possible motivations. Now,
as to Jim's point...
>Suggestion: By removing their children from public schools for any
>reason, including RELIGIOUS ones (which may be the most predominant),
>parents are relieving the citizenry of a financial (and
>administrative) burden. Is that, in effect, saying, "if you want to
>educate your children in a manner consistent with your religious
>beliefs you must pay to do so?" If so, isn't this a disguised
>financial impediment ("tax") on free exercise? Has this argument been
>made? Rejected? Why?
That's an interesting argument. However, I think when I was doing
research for my (one and only) law review article, I ran across such an
argument, I just can't remember where. In any case, I think it's
interesting but too subtle to garner much support. The simpler argument,
that parents who choose to put their children in private school are
double taxed, penalized if you will, for sparing the state the burden of
paying for that child's education is the stronger argument. Although
I've seen many arguments against that one, I think this view, most
strongly championed, so far as I've seen, by Prof. Duncan, is difficult
to refute without appealing to FUD factors such as fear that kids will
lack socialization or leave society without well rounded individuals.
Enough rambling. Back to skulking about...
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