On Aid to Parochial Schools
To the Editor:
Messrs. van den Haag and Handlin [“A Debate on Federal Aid to Parochial Schools,” July] have succeeded in discussing aid to religious schools at great length without touching on a single one of the major social questions involved, viz.:
- Do existing religious schools differ from public schools in desirable ways?
- Would subsidies tend to improve their quality or merely increase their size?
- Would the availabilitiy of subsidies encourage the proliferation of private schools segregated on the basis of religion, class, intellect, and race? If so, would the no longer representative public schools be able to fulfill their traditional functions? Would social fluidity and intergroup communication be reduced? Would the range of value systems and styles of living known to the individual child be broadened or narrowed?
- In the light of our experience with pressure groups and European experience with pressure groups and with religious school subsidies, what effects might be anticipated in our political life? . . .
New York City
To the Editor:
[To determine] whether large amounts of public money should be allocated to Catholic schools, which is the real question, requires some analysis of the Catholic establishment and its functioning in this country, because that is what taxpayers are called upon to strengthen. . . . Are Catholic parochial schools really a pluralist asset of our republic, so that attendance therein should be encouraged by the allocation of public funds? . . . Indeed, it is generally known that the difficulties presently encountered by Catholic authorities in obtaining reasonably competent teachers far exceed even those of the public school sector. Should we add to the latter by subsidizing Catholic schools, where the existence of two separate school systems in many communities, one of which is organized in total disregard of public needs, already poses a heavy burden? . . .
Albert Haddock, Jr.
Tarrytown, New York