by Atoday News Team
Keith Nelson says it has been a godsend for Wisconsin Academy to take part in Milwaukee's school voucher program. Thirteen voucher students are enrolled this fall, which stands to bring the school more than $83,000 in public money this school year.
The 13 students are less than a thousandth of the 23,198 city of Milwaukee residents whose education in private schools – the vast majority of them religious – is being supported by tax dollars this fall. But the Wisconsin Academy involvement is eye-catching: The coed boarding high school with about 100 students is in Columbus, northeast of Madison and more than 70 miles from Milwaukee.
And the school's involvement illustrates the core essence of the voucher program. Whether you find it wonderful, enraging or simply really interesting, it is (best as I've ever figured out) a fact that nowhere in America, present or past, has so much public money been spent on sending children to religious schools. Both the Wisconsin and United States supreme courts have found this constitutional.
Wisconsin Academy, as an example, is a Seventh-day Adventist school. As the student handbook posted online puts it:
"Students in grades nine through twelve who demonstrate a desire for a Christian education and who pledge to live by standards of the Seventh-day Adventist church are welcome. . . . Students who are irreligious, make light of religious matters, have atheistic tendencies, or do not plan to attend for the purpose of developing their spiritual qualities should not apply for admission."
That language is not in compliance with the rules of the voucher program, which require schools to accept students regardless of faith and to allow such students to opt-out of religious programming.
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Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel