The Brea-La Habra branch of the American Assn. of University Women, or AAUW, this week joined the fight against Proposition 174, the school voucher initiative on the November ballot.
Local AAUW officials said they “vehemently oppose” the initiative, which would give parents vouchers of about $2,600 to help pay their children’s private-school tuition.
The money would be drawn from the state Department of Education funding pool, which supports elementary and secondary schools as well as community colleges.
What the AAUW opposes is the use of public money for private elementary and secondary schools, said Wilma Sauer, president of the Brea-La Habra branch.
“At a time when there is a crucial need to cultivate hope in the future, we should not be abandoning our public education system,” she said.
Proponents of the initiative said the proposition would give parents a choice on where to send their children to school.
“If you like the way the government is running our school system, then you’re not going to like this,” said Mark Bucher, Orange County field representative for the Yes on 174 campaign.
But Sauer said the initiative could be detrimental to students.
“Private schools don’t have to employ certificated teachers or implement a state-approved curriculum,” she said.
“They will be selective and won’t take kids with problems or learning disabilities, and that worries me,” Sauer said.
All 17 Orange County branches of the AAUW are now opposed to the initiative.
Members plan to distribute brochures on the proposition and share with residents what they fear could happen if it passes.