In "R.I. needs more options for school choice" (Commentary, Feb 7), Terry Novak gives us the standard arguments for school vouchers: "choice" and "competition;" but avoids mention of the single, largest objection to the idea - in the words of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer: "the risk that publicly financed voucher programs pose in terms of religious social conflict."
About 90 percent of nonpublic schools are religion-based. They are not like public schools with an added religion class. They are pervasively religious, teaching sectarian views on evolution, gay rights, history and reproductive choice. This perverts the whole purpose of a public education.
In a 1963 decision, Justice William Brennan said it best: "It is implicit in the history and character of American public education that the public schools serve a uniquely public function: the training of American citizens in an atmosphere free of parochial, divisive, or separatist influences of any sort - an atmosphere in which children may assimilate a heritage common to all American groups and religions. This is a heritage neither theistic nor atheistic but simply civic and patriotic."