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Shabby Opportunism by the Archdiocese of Chicago

August 4, 2017

The Archdiocese of Chicago has inserted its voice into political discussions about education funding in Illinois. Cardinal Cupich has met with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss a new tax scholarship scheme that could support Archdiocesan schools (along with other religious schools). This helps Rauner in that it promotes “school choice”—a ploy, and play on words, used nearly everywhere to diminish public schools.

This is shabby opportunism and crisis exploitation by the Archdiocese. Let’s make one thing clear: These “scholarships” are vouchers in disguised form. They will ultimately subtract from the pool of money available for public education in Illinois. It would be one thing for the Archdiocese to make this play in flush times. But it is doing so during rampant austerity—in the midst of one of the toughest times known for public education in Chicago.

This insertion is immoral.

As a Catholic, I have been very public supporter of Cardinal Cupich. I have been happy, thus far, with his leadership of the Archdiocese. But I must denounce this particular campaign at this particular time. This is not the time for discussion, or compromise, with our radical ideologue of a governor. – TL

Postscript: I spoke out on this topic a little over a week ago, on July 26, and sent the message below to the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Chicago.

Dear Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools,

Good morning. As a Catholic who supports public schools in Chicago, I was distressed to learn that you are advocating for “Tax Credit Scholarships” (aka vouchers) for archdiocesan families. This program will subtract funds from the already distressed pool of public money available for public education in Chicago. This is, in effect, robbing Paul to pay Peter. We Catholics who send our children to public schools, because we can’t afford Catholic schools, shouldn’t have to worry about tax money being siphoned from public coffers. Please cease and desist advocating for a voucher program. It’s one thing to do so in a “flush” budget environment, and another to do it after Governor Rauner has starved public education, and Chicago schools in particular, for two full years.

Tim Lacy


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