To the Editor:
Three articles in your March 9, 2005, issue merit comment:
First, there is an upside to the precipitous decline of Roman Catholic school enrollment over the last 40 years, from 50 percent of Catholic kids to fewer than 20 percent (“Catholic Schools’ Mission to Serve Needy Children Jeopardized by Closings,” March 9, 2005.) Transfers to public schools strengthen public education, make available additional teachers for public schools, and should increase political support for more adequate funding for public schools.
Second, Utah’s passage of a school voucher bill (“Special-Needs Vouchers Pass Utah House, Senate,” March 9, 2005) not only violates the state constitution but also runs counter to the expressed wishes of Utah voters, who in 1988 rejected a tax-code voucher scheme by 70 percent to 30 percent.
Third, Andrew Coulson’s recommendation of “school choice,” meaning vouchers, as a way out of the evolution/creationism problem (“Ending the Evolutionary War,” Commentary, March 9, 2005) is no solution at all, for two reasons: Scientists are virtually unanimous in insisting that evolution is the indispensable core of biology, geology, and astrophysics and must not be compromised by being confused with the “intelligent design” idea that has no scientific support.
And, as a Michigan resident, Mr. Coulson should know that his state’s voters rejected tax-supported “school choice” at the polls three times: in 1970 by 57 percent to 43 percent, in 1978 by 74 percent to 26 percent, and in 2000 by 69 percent to 31 percent.
On such stories as these, I think it would be good journalism to present contrasting points of view. Nonetheless, Education Week is an indispensable publication.
Americans for Religious Liberty
Silver Spring, Md.