Some months ago we reported to you about a new attempt in the State of Michigan to bring about parochiaid, that is, state funding of non-public schools. The proposal, promoted chiefly by the same forces (including Christian School men) which formerly tried to legalize parochiaid, was a kind of two-edged sword. On the one hand, it proposed the elimination of property taxes as the chief source of school revenue; and it would require the state government to provide some other means of tax support (at state level) to fund the schools. In this day of so-called “tax rebellion” this was, of course, the “candy” which was designed to attract votes. On the other hand, it proposed a voucher system, according to which every school-age child would receive a tuition-voucher which could be turned in at any school, public or private, to pay for his education.
In earlier editorials we called this nothing but a thinly disguised parochiaid proposal, although the forces promoting it tried not to leave this impression on the public and even called their organization by a name which would not hint at parochiaid, “Citizens for More Sensible Financing of Schools.” We were not the only ones to recognize this as a parochiaid proposal. The traditional foes of parochiaid among the public school forces also recognized this, and the “Council Against Parochiaid” has been actively opposing the new proposal.
It is not our intention at this time to offer further critique of the proposal, but to report on progress made in the effort to get the proposal on the ballot in the November election which will soon be held.
On September 9 The Grand Rapids Press reported that the petitions to place this proposal on the ballot apparently had enough signatures and that the Board of State Canvassers had decided that the proposal was to appear on the November ballot as Proposal H.
On September 28 The Grand Rapids Press in an Associated Press dispatch reported that a group called the Council Against Parochiaid had taken to the Michigan Supreme Court “11 specific objections in its lawsuit over whether the proper petition form was used and whether it was circulated properly.” It should be kept in mind that this was not a lawsuit concerning the constitutionality of the proposal itself, but only a suit as to the propriety of the proposal’s place on the November 7 ballot.
On September 29 it was reported in The Grand Rapids Press that the lawsuit by the Council Against Parochiaid was rejected and that the proposal will indeed appear on the November 7 ballot.
What the outcome in the November election will be is difficult to predict. There is a profusion of proposals on the ballot, including more than one about taxes. This might tend to work against Proposal H. It could, however, also have the opposite effect. The fact that loud voices are being heard about the necessity of cutting taxes may also work in favor of Proposal H. That, however, powerful and large forces oppose Proposal H is also a fact; and these could well succeed in their efforts to defeat it at the ballot box.
Even a favorable vote, of course, should not affect the attitude of our schools and people. If parochiaid is principally wrong and dangerous—and it is—then we cannot accept it even if it is available.
But if it is principally wrong, then we should also take advantage of the opportunity to express ourselves in the voting booth. We should vote No, not for the reasons which public school supporters put forth, but for our own reasons of principle.
We urge our Michigan readers to vote on November 7, and to vote NO!