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Taxpayer money shouldn’t pay for religious indoctrination

Some people believe that religious schools Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup should not get government educational funding.
Some people believe that religious schools Bethel Christian Academy in Jessup should not get government educational funding. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

No taxpayer should be forced to pay for another’s religious education. That’s why the current fundamentalist-backed push to funnel public money to private, predominantly religious institutions does a disservice to students, educators, families and the public school system.

Unlike public schools, private schools accepting these vouchers are free to discriminate against potential and current students based on bigotry disguised as, or rooted in, religious faith. In addition to violating people’s religious liberty, prioritizing access to private school vouchers runs entirely counter to evidence-based models of student success and conflicts with the core mission of the U.S. Department of Education.

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In Washington, D.C., the voucher program has no effect on student or parental satisfaction, and students using vouchers are less likely to have access to vital educational services, including special education support and ESL programs.

Neal McClusky’s recent piece is misleading and inaccurate (“Md. case reveals religious discrimination in education,” Aug. 20). It’s not religious discrimination when government refuses to use public funds for religious indoctrination. And in no way does funding scientific, secular education discriminate against religion — it simply protects our students from discrimination and ensures equal educational access for all.

Roy Speckhardt

The writer is executive director of the American Humanist Association.

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