News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Hails U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Cleveland Voucher Program

June 27, 2002

LANSING—Adam Cardinal Maida, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Chairman of the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors offers the following reflections on the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the

Cleveland voucher program in Zelman v Simmons-Harris:

“Today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court in favor of the Cleveland education voucher program is a great victory for children and a great day for parental rights. Our most important resources are our children. They will now be able to receive a quality education where they were previously under-served.

At the very least, this decision eliminates the Establishment Clause argument from those who oppose school choice. The state is not establishing religion; it is simply living up to its obligation to provide the means to an education to its citizenry. This decision supports the responsibility of the government to assist parents in their ability to exercise this basic right whether they choose to send their children to a public, private, or religious school.

Our public school systems are to be valued. Eighty percent of Catholic school-aged children attend a local public school. It is my belief that the competition created by the Cleveland voucher program and the existing programs in Milwaukee and Florida will serve to better public schools and force all schools to focus on their number one mission, educating children.

I am hopeful that the Michigan state legislature will take action to amend our state Constitution and allow Michigan to join our neighbor Ohio and other states in offering scholarship or tax credit programs that will assist all parents to fulfill their basic right and responsibility to obtain a quality education for their children in whatever school they choose.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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