FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rev. Dr. Myke D. Crowder and Richard Wirthlin respond to the Utah Democratic Party
August 16, 2007
Utah Democratic Party
455 S 300 E, Ste 301
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
We are writing to express our disappointment that your website has characterized voucher supporters as “anti-LDS.” Of course voucher supporters come from all religious faiths and backgrounds. They unite in their common dream of affording a quality education to every child, all of whom are God’s children.
One’s particular religious faith or tradition should play no part in this debate of how best to educate God’s children. Rather we hope the discussion will focus on what is best for each individual child and how to help that child reach his or her god-given potential.
We urge you immediately to drop from your website your divisive reference to voucher supporters being “anti-LDS”.
We believe that while Utah’s public schools work well for most students, it is unreasonable to expect a single system to be the best option for more than 500,000 diverse learners. Many students fall through the cracks or don’t get what they need, as evidenced by recent news that 25 percent of high school seniors did not pass the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test, and that Hispanic children in Utah score three grade levels behind their white counterparts in reading.
Many Democratic leaders agree that public education does not provide the same benefits to all children. Just last week, Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama said that “A U.S. Senator can get his kids into a great public school…the question is whether or not an ordinary family who can’t work the system can get their kids into a decent school.” The week before, presidential candidate John Edwards said, “There are two public school systems in this country…The result is, if you live in a wealthy suburban area, the odds are very high that your child will get a very good public school education. If you live in the inner city or if you live in a poor rural area, the odds of that go down dramatically.”
We see Utah’s new voucher program as a tool that will level the playing field for poor and minority families, opening up options that now are only available to the wealthy. And because the taxpayer cost for a voucher, $2,000, is only about 27 percent of the cost of educating a child in a public school (over $7,500), our public schools will have more funding to meet the needs of students who choose to stay in their local school. That funding can be used to reduce class size, provide raises to our hard-working teachers, or invest in new technology.
As members of various religious faiths, we support the goals of Alliance for Unity (www.allianceforunity.org), namely that “differences need to be aired, and problems resolved, in an atmosphere of courtesy, respect and civility…especially when we disagree.” We encourage all participating in the voucher debate to abide by these standards.
Rev. Dr. Myke D. Crowder
Senior Pastor of Christian Life Center in Layton, Utah
Contact Information for Rev. Dr. Crowder : Cell phone: 801-791-7145
Saturday, August 25, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE