Responsibility Of The Religious

I enjoyed reading your article “Empty Chairs” (June 7). It was thoughtful, balanced and informative. My concern is where you editorialized without flagging your comment as such.  You state in the section “Money Matters … Sometimes” that Maryland is not doing enough to help fund private schools, especially in comparison with neighboring states.

I would argue that the reason that Maryland is No. 1 in the nation in public education is because it doesn’t divert money to private education. I have heard the argument that private schools take the burden off public schools by reducing the number of students that public schools have to teach. However, as someone who teaches in the public schools, I believe that public education would actually benefit if all of the private and parochial schools would close. The initial strain on the infrastructure would be outweighed by the benefits from the influx of motivated, academically able students and their committed and involved parents.

I do believe in choice, and I believe in day school education. Despite being single and childless, I financially support my synagogue’s day school and have left money in my will for The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s day school endowment program. However, I also believe that it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to fund a high-quality public school system. If individuals choose not to use that school system, that is their right, but paying for their choice is also their (and their community’s) responsibility.

When it comes to parochial school, there is also the issue of separation of church and state. I don’t want my tax dollars funding any kind of parochial school in any way, be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.   That is the responsibility of the religious communities.

Margie Simon
Baltimore

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