Today, an amendment was included in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that would provide tax incentives to parents who educate their children in private religious schools by enabling them to receive a tax deduction on the cost of tuition.
The National Coalition for Public Education, a group co-chaired by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:
“We are strongly opposed to the Hatch Amendment because it would create a private school voucher-like program. Congress should focus on supporting and funding our public schools, which accept and serve all students, not creating new ways to finance private school vouchers, which serve a few selected students. This amendment is just another example of attempts to bolster private schools at the expense of our public schools.
“The Hatch Amendment would provide a tax deduction only for tuition at private religious schools. This special preference and benefit for religious education not only undermines public schools, but also violates the U.S. Constitution and basic principles of religious freedom. Furthermore, it will likely benefit wealthy families that can already afford and are already sending their child to a private school.
“Congress would better serve our students by funding our public schools, where 90 percent of children are educated, rather than forgoing revenue to help families send their children to private religious schools."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.