Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beinart, Vouchers and the WSJ

by Edd Doerr

Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic, had a bizarre op ed in the Wall Street Journal of March 29 titled "The Jewish Case for School Vouchers". His whole argument was based on religion, on using public funds to preserve the Jewish religious/cultural heritage. Below is the response I posted in the WSJ on line -----

"Beinart's argument is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese. Here are a few responses -- 1.Tax aid for Jewish schools would also mean tax aid for Muslim and fundamentalist Christian schools. 2. US voters in 26 statewide referenda have rejected vouchers or their variants by a two to one margin. The 2011 Gallup/PDK poll showed opposition to vouchers at 65% to 34%. The referenda show that Catholic and Protestant and Jewish majorities all oppose vouchers. 3. Vouchers or their variants violate at least 39 state constitutions [and, I should have added, the US First Amendment, in the opinion of most legal scholars]. 4. Vouchers would fragment our school population along religious, ideological, class, ethnic and other lines, and destroy democratic public education. 5. By isolating Jewish kids in separate, religiously homogeneous private schools, anti-Semitism would enjoy a comeback. 6. Several years ago I debated vouchers with an Orthodox Jewish lawyer before an audience if Jewish high school kids from a Jewish high school in Philadelphia. At the end of the debate 100% of the students agreed with me that vouchers were a bad idea. 7. All major Jewish organizations, except the Orthodox, are opposed to vouchers and support separation of religion and government, which protects the rights of Jews and all other religious minorities.

"Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty"


Don Wharton said...

Obviously Murdock has bought and paid for the WSJ editorial page. In our version of the marketplace the opinion page is a commodity just like any other.

You are right that separation will result in an increase in anti-semitism. Frankly, I think that the Jewish identity might largely disappear over time because of the very high intermarriage rates. This is due to the very positive decline in anit-semitism.

Anonymous said...

I don't really have a problem with isolating Jewish children or that of any other religion. I think that one must be immersed in an that cultural environment in order to have a substantial understanding and maintenance of that culture. It is leftists like you who want to eliminate real diversity and have us be a sea of bronze and tan, who can claim multiple ethnic backgrounds, but only a superficial knowledge of each respective background. The public schools are not succeeding at promoting diversity; rather they are placing children of all different races in the same classroom and force the same MTV inspired culture on all of them.

If there is a rise of antisemitism, and I believe there will be, it will undoubtedly be due to the behavior of the Israeli lobby, not the existence of day schools and vouchers to support them, which might win friends among supporters of school vouchers.