Today's Beacon Journal runs an AP story about the Cleveland voucher program and Catholic schools in the Cleveland Diocese. Here's the meat of it:
- More than 80 percent of students in at least seven Catholic elementary schools in Cleveland use vouchers to attend.
Vouchers have kept Catholic school classrooms filled with students, but the program is still not enough to cover the cost of sending a student to a diocese-run school, said Margaret Lyons, superintendent of the Cleveland diocese's schools.
If I were a conservative I'd be concerned about an institution becoming dependent on government spending. Voucher programs are creating new constituencies whose activity may ultimately lead to more, not less government spending on education.
As for this liberal, in principle I'm not against giving kids in schools full of dead-enders a chance at a better education. But I have grave concerns about the church-state implications. Make no mistake, the government is subsidizing Catholic education. Catholic theology is so embedded in the curriculum that simply excusing kids from attending religion classes does little to change things.
And of course I have concerns about whether the truly needy kids are the ones getting the vouchers. The available data says they are not.