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Amy Wells' commentary on the Supreme Court voucher decision

Posted By: patrick groff on July 2, 2002
There are many portenteous points made by Any Wells in her critique of the Supreme Court's decision that the school voucher plan is constitutional. However, I find them all to be thrown into question by an issue that she forgets to broach.

This key topic is whether voucher students at present can be considered to have received full constitutional protection under state and federal laws, considering the manner in which vouchers are funded. Today, voucher students receive only a fraction of the dollar amount for their education that is provided their public school cohorts.

Conscientious educators at present recoil with horror at recall of the past dark days of the "separate but equal" conditions of segregated public schooling, that were set by the Supreme Court. However, never has an arbitrarily predetermined cohort of school children been so routinely denied full opportunity to learn than the offspring of low-income parents, who decide to accept vouchers to help their children escape the dysfunctional, dangerous, and demoralized public schools in which so many of them now are trapped.

Not only are the civil liberties of these voucher-choice parents, many of whom are members of black and Hispanic minority groups, systematically abridged by the humiliation of having to accept devalued vouchers. The opponents of parental rights, to send their children to schools of their choice, go on to falsely accuse these fathers and mothers of either stupidity, malice toward public schools, and/or disloyalty to the nation for their actions.

Accordingly, it is proper for commentators such as Wells to predict that in the future the voucher plan will continue to have to weather the scrutiny of state and local tribunals. The proponents of vouchers, i.e., defenders of educational liberty and justice for all, thus must set as their immediate next goal a challenge in these courts as to the paltry amount that voucher students receive for their education. I predict that these courts will decide that the educational future of children must not suffer as a result of their parents' wise decision to choose vouchers.

Patrick Groff
Professor of Education Emeritus
San Diego State University

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 Amy Wells' commentary on the Supreme Court voucher decision by patrick groff on July 2, 2002
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