Sunday, December 14, 2014

Catholic Schools Are Struggling to Stay Open: (Partial) Solution, Tax Credits

NJ Catholic schools fight to keep doors open as future dims, screams a headline in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

I left these comments:

While there may be many reasons for Catholic Schools’ struggles, the biggest is likely the dominance of the quasi-monopolistic, coercive “public”—i.e., government—school system.

The basic injustice that parents who choose private education options for their children face is that they are forced to continue having their money seized to fund the government schools. This is morally grotesque, and probably keeps a lot of parents who would otherwise choose private education stuck in public schools.

This injustice should be corrected. A properly structured tax credit program for parental school choice would move us in that direction. My tax credit proposal, Toward a Free Market in Education published in The Objective Standard, would open the door to private alternatives to the public schools for all parents in all income brackets. Tax credits would be available to all taxpayers to fund the education of any child, limited to the per-pupil cost in the child’s local school district. This feature would open vast opportunities not just for parents but for older taxpayers to fund their grandchildren, for example, and for philanthropic funding of poor children’s education, should the poor parents choose private education. And, since tax credits leave individuals free to spend only their own money as they choose—as is their fundamental right—the separation of church and state would not be violated as it is with government vouchers.

This may or may not help the Catholic schools. But it would go a long way to correct the moral injustice of coercive government schools. It would enable private education alternatives of all kinds to compete for education dollars on a more even playing field, while leaving the public schools adequately funded for those who remain with them.

Related Reading:

     My replies to TOS letters regarding Toward a Free Market in Education:

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