random basis from all those pupils who apply and meet thesernreligious-neutral criteria.” And again, “the participating privaternschools must select on a random basis the students attendingrntheir schools.”rnThat’s right: random admissions, somewhat like publicrnschools. The inability to pick and choose among students, andrnkick out students who do not cut it in academics or discipline,rnis one of the reasons public schools are in trouble. Apply thernsame rule to private schools, and you go a long way toward makingrnthem carbon copies of the schools so many are anxious tornflee.rnLook at the demographics of the students receiving vouchersrnin the Milwaukee program. As reported by Daniel McGroartyrnin the Public Interest, 60 percent were on welfare, 77 percentrnhad no father at home, and all were “very near the bottom inrnterms of academic achievement” with “a historv’ of behaior-relatedrnproblems.” Do we want these kids crashing the privaternschools of the country, and doing so at taxpayer expense? Nornwonder Polly Williams, a black nationalist and far-leftist, is celebrating.rnNationally syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan, who inexplicablyrnjoined Williams in cheering the Milwaukee decision,rnstill wondered how paying parents will react “when Little Alvinrnthe Drug Dealer, with his gold chains and Clock semi-automatic,rnand his fellow gang members, show up at the newrnschool, $5,000 vouchers in hand.” Vouchers, he further speculated,rnmayrnsene as visas to new turf for hoodlum kids who madernthose inner-city schools the war zones some have become.rnWhat happens when a boy at Bible Baptist isrnsliced or stabbed by a “voucher stiident” at gym or somernlittle girl is molested?rnThird, regarding the religious content of the curriculum, thernWisconsin state legislature added an “opt-out” provision thatrnprohibits a private school from requiring a student “to participaternin any religious activity if the pupil’s parent or guardianrnsubmits to the teacher or the private school’s principal a writtenrnrequest that the pupil be exempt from such activities.” The existencernof this provision helped persuade the court that therernwas no violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s diktats aboutrnchurch and state. But this betrays an astounding ignorance ofrnthe way many religious schools teach. There is no such thingrnas a “religious activity” separate from the general learning programrnof the school (as there might have been in public schoolsrnbefore the Supreme Court prohibited even that). The very purposernof these schools is to weave religious values into tiie processrnof learning.rnWlien these schools teach reading, among the books they selectrnis the Bible, and nearly all readings will have some religiousrnlesson behind them. When these schools teach histor)’, the historv-rnof religion is integral. Wlien they teach art, thev use religiousrnimagery. When they teach science, they include biblicalrnaccounts of Cod’s hand moving in the creation of the world, hirnthese schools, literature means, in part, learning about religiousrnwriting.rnThe court’s mandate requires that the religious side of therncurriculum be distinct and separate from the secular curriculum,rnand that the secular side be large enough to prepare studentsrnto pass standardized tests. In practice, this will requirernany supposed religious school to model itself on non-sectarianrnschools or public schools, and to do so in opposition to the parentsrnwho are shelling out tuition money precisely so their childrenrnwill have their faith reinforced.rnPrayer will be allowed, so long as ample time is provided forrn”opting-out” students, even if there is only one, to leave thernclassroom. And can the teacher make casual reference to religiousrndoctrine in the course of the da}’ without first permittingrnopting-out students to cover their ears? And what about somethingrnas simple as a crucifix or a copv of the Ten Commandmentsrnon the wall of a classroom? L looking at them a “religiousrnactivity”? In that case, they must be taken down, just asrnthev were in Catholic uniersities taking government monev inrnthe’l940’s.rnVouchers have much in commonrnwith sociahsm. They both relyrnon government plans, governmentissuedrncoupons, vast expense, andrninvasions of private space. We canrneven think of the Soviet economy asrnhaving been fully voucherized.rnKeep in mind that these are only the first round of restrictions.rnIne’itably, there will be new challenges to the particularrnpractices of these religious schools, and if the courts continuernin the direction they have been heading for 50 years, religionrnwill be systematically banished. In order to avoid lawsuits,rnschools will err on the side of caution by voluntarily cutting thernheart out of their programs.rnThis is why David Frum, writing in the Weekly Standard, isrnso startled that any consenative would support vouchers to beginrnwith: “Voucher adocates intended to bring the virtues ofrnthe private school into the public sphere; there is a much morernreal risk that they will instead inflict all the vices of the publicrnsphere upon the private.” Because control follows tax money,rnvouchers guarantee that the whole svstem of private educationrnwill eventually be absorbed into a gigantic government-fundedrnblob, with the only pockets of diversity being schools that refusernany subsidies at all, though they will then be frequently outcompeted.rnThis is precisely what happened on the university’rnle’el, with a disastrous homogenization and dumbing-down.rnThere is another kind of “choice” program that does not involvernthe private schools. It permits public-school studentsrnfrom one district to attend the public schools of anotherrndistrict. This would presumably force schools to compete forrnstudents. But this plan is actually more monstrouslv left-wingrnthan anything the left would have dared dream. It would makernit impossible for good schools in successful areas —whose resi-rnSEPTEMBER 1998/25rnrnrn