Tax Dollars For Religious Schools

For now dumping down some thoughts I just emailed to a friend, in reaction to a Richard Dawkins article on not giving govt money to religious schools: Having disavowed the hereditary principle for membership of Parliament, you seem hell-bent on promoting the hereditary principle for the transmission of beliefs and opinions. For that is precisely what religions are: hereditary beliefs and opinions.

I agree with his point about the hereditary handling of religion, and the danger of ongoing separatism via religious schools.

But I'm not sure I agree with his conclusion (to avoid providing funding to religious schools).

(Warning: stream of consciousness below...)

I'm not a big fan of having the government be the largest provider of education, any more than I would want them to be the biggest provider of HealthCare. (To be the biggest payor for those services is another matter.) Not only is the public system a mess, but it's primacy screws up many opportunities for a middle-market of alternatives to develop. Do you know that private kindergartens cost more than $10k/yr in NYC? Religious schools are the secondary market, because they gained traction during a period when they could pay even lower salaries than the public schools (nuns had to work cheap).

Ugh, where am I going...

  • I think having more kids educated outside the Public School-s would be a good thing - Diversity via School Choice.

  • the government already collects tax dollars to pay for educating children; it seems reasonable to forward those funds (School Vouchers) to 3rd party schools if that's where kids' parents want to send them (partially because I think this is the only way to "force" public schools to change at all).

  • the sector of schools that would grow the most would be non-religious, but the sector that would in the short-term get the most dollars would be religious, since they already exist.

  • I think any school should have an explicit Point Of View. Public schools have tried to eradicate any POV, but they've really just settled on a stupid one. If I want to start a school with a certain strong non-traditional POV, it seems unfair to think that I should get tax-dollars (based on attendance, of course), but that schools with other (e.g. religious) POVs should be denied such funds.

  • Hmm, should we pay parents to Home-School their kids, under that same model?

It's hard to defend my thoughts when I see stuff like this.

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