Senator Lamar Alexander likes to say that vouchers for religious and private schools are akin to a “GI Bill of Rights for Children,” a transfer of public funds to be spent anywhere.

 

But this reader is a beneficiary of the actual GI Bill and he says the analogy is wrong:

 

 

“I felt compelled to write this today after seeing Senator Alexander’s efforts to normalize Betsy Devos’ extreme ideas about public education.

 

“Dear Senator Lamar Alexander. STOP COMPARING SCHOOL VOUCHERS TO THE GI BILL.

 

“You are defending Betsy Devos and her goal to change public education into a system of private vouchers by saying that school vouchers are just like the GI BILL.

 

“The GI bill was a special benefit to support veterans returning to civilian life. I know, because the GI bill made it possible for me to make it through college after the Vietnam war. This one time benefit for soldiers is far different than our public responsibility to provide for the education of the children in our communities. Each state’s constitution defines this public responsibility to provide for and oversee the compulsory education of the children in their state.

 

“Our public responsibility to educate our youth is not the same thing as going to the grocery store to buy groceries. It is not about consumer choice. It’s about responsibility. Each community has the responsibility to create an equitable, safe, quality education for all of the children in their community. This responsibility includes providing an education that will enable students to become proficient in basic skills as well as to develop the habits and citizenship skills necessary to participate in our diverse democracy.

 

“The entire public contributes to the common good for the children of the state, even if they have no children. Along with this responsibility is the expectation that students will receive a quality public education. I am contributing my public tax dollars to public education, not so a family down the street can feel entitled to send their child to private or religious school because the local school is not to their liking. If they are unhappy with their public schools, they can work with their locally elected officials. They can also choose to provide their own private school or home school their child. That’s their job and responsibility. In my community our school board offers both traditional as well as alternative schools and resources for home school families.

 

 

“The choice movement wants to take away this public responsibility and oversight. All they want from the public is their tax dollars. They want private choice, not public choice, and they want you to pay for it.

 

“Senator Alexander and Betsy Devos do not understand this sacred responsibility.”