School vouchers will not help military family children

By Jason Lemieux

As a military veteran, I’m honored to have served a country that provides an education for every child. When I was an enlisted Marine, I served with lots of young parents. I saw how deeply they wanted a bright future for their kids. That’s why I’m so disturbed that some members of Congress want to raid Impact Aid to pay for a private school voucher scheme that won’t benefit most military families.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has signaled support for a voucher scheme that would take money from the very schools that serve the children of active-duty military personnel and divert it to private, largely religiously affiliated schools. It’s part of the Trump administration’s plan to “voucherize” education, and it would lead to a serious loss of resources for a special subset of public schools that operate near military bases.

The Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act, the proponents of which are hoping to tack onto the next defense budget, would give military families funds to send their children to private schools, which tend to be religious in nature, or for other education-related expenses. Whatever you feel about tax money going to underwrite a religious education — and to my mind it’s a violation of church-state separation and bad public policy — you should be concerned that the money for the program would come out of something called Impact Aid.

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