Public Education is Key to Human Well-Being and Must Be Protected Against Vouchers

Rev. John Gill, Pastor  of Church of the Savior and Rev. Marcia C. Free, M. Div. Associate Pastor in Knoxville, issued the following statement on behalf of the Southern Christian Coalition calling on Rep. Jason Zachary (House District 14, Knoxville) to change his original “aye” vote supporting private school vouchers (House Bill 0939 / Senate Bill 0795) to “no.”

“In John 10:10, Jesus tells his followers: ‘I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.’ Abundant life applies to every aspect of our being in this world – physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Public education is key to community and human well-being. A few families may be able to afford to use a voucher for their child to attend a private school but what happens to the poorest of the poor? The vulnerable who we are called to care for will be left in already underfunded schools, an abandonment of these families and our Christian values.

“The voucher bill would widen the socio-economic disparities that already exist in our society. The Bible tells us that we are all precious in God’s eyes (Isaiah 43:4), especially our children who depend on us as advocates to provide quality education and a loving community so that they may live more abundant lives.

Using public funds for private schools or vouchers moves us further away from this moral imperative. Rep. Zachary, please reconsider your previous vote and choose to protect the vulnerable and the least of these by voting against vouchers that would take money from our public schools.”