Calling on “gay left” groups to drop their “dishonest attacks” on Christian school vouchers, today GOProud issued a press release endorsing a House bill that would pay Washington DC parents to put their kids in private religious schools.
This legislation, sponsored by Speaker John Boehner, would restore and expand the school voucher program for low-income children in the District of Columbia. “Congress has an opportunity to empower parents and dramatically improve educational opportunities for low-income children in DC by passing this important legislation,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud. “Speaker Boehner’s legislation builds on a successful education reform program that has yielded 91 percent student graduation rates for student participants,” continued LaSalvia. “Unfortunately, President Barack Obama is prioritizing loyalty to national teachers unions over the children and parents of DC by strongly opposing the District’s voucher program.”
What the proposed legislation would do, actually, aside from providing a huge financial boon to anti-gay Christian institutions, is further erode the available funding for public schools who would then see diminished enrollment. That’s a typically GOProud “fuck the poor” strategy. GOProud president Jimmy LaSalvia: “Liberal opponents of school choice shouldn’t dishonestly use ‘gay rights’ as a weapon to destroy a program that improves education for low-income children in D.C.” Note the Christianist scare quotes around “gay rights.” Somebody’s trying to quisle their way back into CPAC.
UPDATE: People For The American Way reports that the House bill has passed.
While Tea Party Republicans are claiming to take the high ground on government spending, they vote to throw millions of dollars at reviving a program that the Department of Education has shown is ineffective. After studying the program for four years, the Department found that use of a voucher had no statistically significant impact on overall student achievement in math or reading. The results were the same when the Department looked only at students who had applied from schools in need of improvement. As the Obama Administration stated in opposing the bill: “The Federal Government should focus its attention and available resources on improving the quality of public schools for all students. Private school vouchers are not an effective way to improve student achievement.” So if the program doesn’t educate kids effectively, what exactly does it do?
For one thing, it helps religious schools stay open. This voucher program has been in existence since 2003, and more than three fourths of the students in it have used these government funds for private religious schools. While Congress is slashing government spending on public education in communities across the country, the House decided to throw a few million dollars to keep religious schools afloat. This raises significant First Amendment concerns.