Washington, D.C., September 10, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed regret at the vote yesterday by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve a new voucher program for private and parochial schools in the District of Columbia. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, this would be the first voucher program in America funded by the federal government.
"Vouchers are a bad choice for those who care about public education,'' said Chris Wolf, Chairman of the ADL Washington D.C. Regional Board, and David C. Friedman, ADL Washington D.C. Regional Director. "The $10 million in this legislation authorized to be spent on vouchers for a small percentage of D.C. school children would be better spent on genuine education reform efforts -- smaller class size or better facilities -- for the vast majority of the students in the District of Columbia will remain in public schools.
"In a 5-4 decision last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that vouchers in certain, limited circumstances did not violate First Amendment principles of church-state separation. But the Court did not say vouchers were a good idea," said Mr. Wolf and Mr. Friedman. "We are concerned that government funding for religious schools will infringe on religious liberty - because such funds will inevitably be accompanied by an unacceptable effort by the government to monitor and control religious activities."