|Stop the Expansion of Vouchers||
|As you may recall, an AAUW-opposed private and religious school voucher program for students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was enacted in December 2005. The program was promoted by its Congressional supporters as a one-school-year, one-time program to meet the emergency needs of students. Senators on both sides of the aisle made numerous public assurances that this program would sunset at the end of the 2005-2006 school year.Despite these assurances, Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have inserted an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill to extend and expand the Katrina voucher program. As written, the amendment adds an additional $350 million dollars and extends the voucher program into the 2006-2007 school year. This leaves no doubt that voucher proponents are still using this tragedy to enact a permanent voucher program. While AAUW appreciates efforts to extend disaster relief to students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a federal voucher program is not the appropriate way to do it.Take Action!
To urge your senators to oppose the expansion of a taxpayer-funded private and religious school voucher program, click on the â€œTake Actionâ€ link in the upper right corner, or copy and paste the following URL into your Internet browser, then follow the instructions to send an email to your senators: http://capwiz.com/aauw/issues/alert/?alertid=8719881&type=CO.
Current law already allows local school boards to contract and supervise the spending of public funds by private schools in order to meet the needs of students under extraordinary circumstances such as these. These â€œequitable participationâ€ provisions protect studentsâ€™ civil rights and prevent private schools from realizing significant financial gain at the publicâ€™s expense. Vouchers are taxpayersâ€™ dollars spent according to the policies of a private school boardâ€”not the decisions of a democratically-elected and publicly-accessible school board. Private and religious schools are not required to observe federal nondiscrimination laws, like Title IX. AAUW has long opposed the use of school vouchers and believes that public funds should be used only to improve public education.
To learn more about religious and private school vouchers, read AAUWâ€™s position paper.