Averting disaster

Averting disaster

Thank you for the report on NJ Assemblyman Gary Schaer’s bill (“Bill aims to maintain adopted kids’ religion,” Dec. 1). Surely the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness applies to children as well as adults.

The same principle needs also be applied to education. Parents should not be financially coerced to send their children to public schools, where they are taught values that conflict with that of the home — a recipe for disaster.

New Jersey is the first state to have a bill that ends the practice. The NJ Parental Rights Program Act (S2914/A4033), which mandates parental choice for every child, has the support of at least five senators and seven assembly members — all Republican. Unfortunately, the bill lacks the support of even one Democrat. They mistakenly claim the bill violates the NJ Constitution despite its having been drafted by the NJ Office of Legislative Services, responsible for writing bills that are in compliance with the Constitution.

The Democrats also ignore the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled school vouchers constitutional (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 2002). That case involved Ohio, whose constitution is far more restrictive than New Jersey’s, as it prohibits even “indirect” state support for religious institutions.

Were Assemblyman Schaer to cosponsor New Jersey’s universal school voucher bill, he will lend it bipartisan status, representing an enormous breakthrough for the right of parents to raise and educate their children with minimal government intrusion. Passage of the bill will also improve the quality and efficiency of education by force of competition and save taxpayers billions — not only in educational cost savings, but also in future costs for police, courts, jails, social services, and the incalculable cost of government corruption resulting from taxpayer money being misused for political and financial gain.

Israel Teitelbaum

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