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Giving parents and students a choice via school vouchers is the epitome of democracy

Giving parents and students a choice via school vouchers is the epitome of democracy
President Trump looks and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a meeting with parents and teachers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 14. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

To the editor: Jonah Edelman and Randi Weingarten declare that the Trump administration's plan to spend $1 billion on school vouchers risks undermining democracy. How laughable it is for the authors to proclaim giving people a choice is contrary to democracy. ("School vouchers don't just undermine public schools, they undermine our democracy," Opinion, May 31)

Perhaps Edelman and Weingarten have spent too much time in their government schools, because the definition of democracy is a government system in which the population, represented by those they elect, decides how things work.

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The democratic thing to do would be to give parents and children a choice in deciding where and how they want to be educated rather than forcing them to attend the school that happens to correspond to their zip code. Edelman and Weingarten have an agenda, and it does not have to do with helping students.

Teresa Mull, Driggs, Idaho

The writer is managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News.

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To the editor: It's most telling that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos won't comment on what should be done when schools that benefit from voucher programs engage in invidious discrimination. After all, she has said that she views vouchers — which primarily would aid religious schools — as a way to "advance God's kingdom."

But many faiths' tenets counsel discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. This poses a devilish quandary for DeVos. She wants federal funds to prop up religious schools, even those that champion faith-based discrimination. But she knows that courts tend to spurn "religious freedom" arguments proffered to justify such discrimination.

If only DeVos might pray for divine guidance — say, in the form of enlightened educational policies. A proverbial judgment day for public schools looms large on the horizon.

Aaron Mills, Solana Beach, Calif.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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