Reform Jewish Leader Denounces Senate Maneuvers to Push DC Vouchers Through Congress, Urges Conferees to Remove Voucher Language from Omnibus
Saperstein: School voucher programs divert desperately needed funds from public education, endanger religious liberty, lack accountability, and fail to give parents real choice.
Contact:Alexis Rice or Rob Levy 202.387.2800
WASHINGTON, November, 19, 2003 - In response to yesterday's removal of school voucher provisions from the District of Columbia Appropriations Act of 2004 (S. 1583) in order to reinsert them into an omnibus appropriations bill, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The Reform Jewish Movement is disappointed, but alas not surprised, by the political maneuverings used by Congressional school voucher supporters to avoid Senate debate on the voucher proposal in the District of Columbia Appropriations Act of 2004 (S. 1583). To assure Senate passage, the voucher language was removed yesterday from S. 1583. News reports indicate that the voucher provisions will be added to an omnibus federal spending bill, which cannot be amended and which will likely be approved by Congress before it adjourns.
School voucher programs divert desperately needed funds from public education, endanger religious liberty, lack accountability, and fail to give parents real choice. The very serious problems facing American public schools today are not addressed by giving private school vouchers to a handful of students, leaving the vast majority behind. Above all, D.C. parents and the city council have spoken out in overwhelming opposition to vouchers. Recent polls have shown that more than 75% of D.C. voters are against a voucher program.
At a time when Congress is unwilling to meet its promise to our nation's most impoverished public schools by fully funding the No Child Left Behind Act, the Reform Jewish Movement urges House and Senate conferees to oppose school vouchers and ensure a quality public education for all.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .