I work at a high school where the majority of the students are from inner-city Milwaukee. They are confronted almost daily with some form of dysfunction, depravity, or violence.

One day, some of my students challenged me as to why they should put a lot of effort into their studies when, from their perspective, the outlook for their futures looked bleak. I reminded them that God doesn’t want them to live in poverty or hopelessness. Rather, as stated in Proverbs 13, He wants them to live lives of prosperity, generosity and leave a legacy, which is possible if we follow His plan. I was able to share aspects of my faith with my students because the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) has enabled their parents to send them to Milwaukee Lutheran High School on a voucher.

Soon parents in Maine might have this opportunity as well: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Dec. 8 for a case known as Carson v. Makin where they are to decide whether the State of Maine’s school choice law, which funds secular private schools but not parochial schools, is unconstitutional. I believe it is not only legally but morally right that parents, especially those in low-income areas with failing public schools, should be able to use taxpayer vouchers to send their kids to a private Christian school if that is what they choose for their child.

I teach Free Enterprise classes at Milwaukee Lutheran High School, with over 850 low-income students attending free of tuition on a school voucher through the MPCP. The Milwaukee Public Schools in large part are failing urban youth and parents are desperately seeking alternatives. They’ve heard our civic leaders shouting “Reform! Reform! Reform!” for decades but have seen no change. If anything, the situation has only gotten worse. Our public schools are low-performing, bloated with administrators and red tape, and are becoming increasingly violent. Milwaukee Lutheran offers a creative, faith-based curriculum that performs. Not surprisingly, many inner-city parents prefer it for their children. That’s why we have a waiting list for admission.

At Milwaukee Lutheran, the first book every student receives is the Bible. We are constantly telling our kids that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through their teachers, is providing them with the tools they will need not only to improve their own station in life but also to serve others as commanded by Him. We don’t expect our students to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps,” instead we say that they have the power to change their circumstances because God is bigger and he has given them opportunities to succeed such as attending a voucher school.

Faith is not the sole focus of what we teach, but it informs our teaching. For instance, I teach my students that the concepts of capitalism and free enterprise, if implemented correctly, are in essence modeled after God’s will that we serve others. Capitalists don’t get rich doing what they want; they get rich by doing what everyone else wants. Moreover, Christianity teaches that greed is destructive and money should never be prioritized over loving and serving our fellow man.

The bottom line is this: no child should be forced to attend a failing school. Parents ought to be empowered to give their children the best education they can.

Based on the questioning coming from the Court in the Maine case, the general consensus is that the Court is leaning toward striking down the law that bans vouchers from use in parochial schools. Predictably, the reaction by the public school establishment has been over the top. These parochial school critics don’t want to pay for a school to teach any religion (other than Atheism). They are characterizing religious schools as bastions of intolerance, indoctrinating mindless drones who will take the first opportunity to attack the nearest available marginalized group they can find. Taxpayer dollars, they argue, should not go toward educating a child in such an environment. But these critics don’t mind if that low-income student is subjected to the violent, chaotic “environment” of a failing inner-city school. How is that attitude serving children in need?

A former vice principal at Milwaukee Lutheran would end the days’ announcements with “I love you. More importantly, He loves you.”

Love is at the heart of any great education. In this respect, it is the power of a parochial school to restore not only one’s faith in God, but also a struggling child’s hope for the future—generally, with better academics thrown in as a bonus. Any rational thinker would think that is taxpayer money well spent.

Shannon Whitworth is a Bradley Freedom Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and is director of the Free Enterprise Academy at Milwaukee Lutheran High School.


  1. Too many children across America are falling through the cracks bc the systemic problems of the department of education in most states, are grossly mismanaged, funds misappropriated, and resources are not properly distributed. Throw in the mix, CRT, and a purposeful, satanic inversion of societal norms, and you have parents running towards Godly parochial schools, praying for salvation!
    Due to the current predicament we are all in, as a special educator, I can emphatically state, most children in the inner cities with limited resources, are at least 1-3 years behind in their overall development. Very sad indeed….I pray for a conservative outcome in upcoming elections; elected officials who believe in free choice. All parents need the opportunity to select the best course of education for their children. They must be given that option, if their local city schools are continuously failing the children.
    Parochial schools offer the best choice for parents who have a relationship with God, and follow a path of righteousness, as they instill the virtues and overall integrity that parents might have been raised with.
    I know we are growing scarce with our coins, and find it hard to get change of a dollar lately. But the last time I checked, our US coins still say, In God We Trust! I pray the majority of people will continue to send their children to parochial schools, or move to a free, red state!

  2. In tiny Finland of <5 mill people the State over the last 30 years built the same schoolbuildingsc all over the country open 7 am to 10 pm having classes, cafeteria, gym, music hall, vocational class, library, computer room, robotics,basket ball court, skating court that children under supervision stay until their parents pick them up.
    Homework is done at school and when home the students interact with their parents.

  3. Indeed WOKE Culture teaching the importance of the black people in all walks of life and Critical Race Theory that imposes on the White Majority guilt for what the white people inflicted on the black people many generations ago is racist and totally derails the role of schools to teach the threeR’s along with good manners and patriotism .
    Greek Charter Schools would be a welcome alternative to the present situation as HELLENISM IS ECUMENICAL WITH ETERNAL VALUES.

  4. Spot on, Leonidas….keep in mind, teachers in Finland and Scandinavian countries, teachers are revered, and are considered the most important employees in their communities. They are highly paid, respected, as well as educated; they must have a masters before even entering a classroom on their own!
    Agreed with the Hellenic charter schools. My dream school, rich in Hellenism, integrity, ethos, and the Socratic methodology of teaching and learning through critical thinking and seminar….

    Give the vouchers to the parents and let them shop for a school for their child; get rid of the greedy unions, and end all the waste of millions of dollars and useless professionals just in it for the paycheck!

    • Dear Leonidas and Queens Ann.
      Charter school are a business to make money. I have been in education over 30 years. While the Hellenic charter schools help promote Hellenism, they do nothing for Greek children. Only 5-10% of the population is Greek. In addition, many of the founders and current board members have their wives, children and immediate family members working at these schools making 6 figures. The real estate is owned by someone involved a supposed management company which is making a fortune. I’m addition they are governed by the local school agencies so the curriculum is the same as it is in a public school.
      We need to support our parochial school system where crosses, Christmas and values can exist in a classroom.

  5. John T.— I’m going to play the proverbial “devil’s advocate” here –and would like for you to delineate what your definition of “Hellenism” is. Likewise, anyone reading this, please chime in with your version of “Hellenism.” I’m sure we’ll have brainstormed some great ideas!

    • Να μαθαινουν ολα τα παιδια τα επιτευγματα των Αρχαιων Ελληνων στα σχολικα τους βιβλια για να γινουν υπερασπιστες του ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΥ που χαρισε στην Ανθρωποτητα τους Ολυμπιακους Αγωνες με τον Ολυμπιακο Υμνο του Παλαμα και το ευ αγωνιζεσθαι,τον Ομηρο,το Θεατρο με τις τραγωδιες και κωμωδιες,την Φιλοσοφια του Πλατωνα που ενεπνευςσε τον Αγιο Βασιλειο ,που συνιστα την μελετη των αρχαιων συγγραφεων στους νεους σε σχετικη επιστολη του, τον Φρουντ και Μαρξ ,τον πανεπιστημονα Αριστοτελη που διδαξε και θεμελιωσε ολες τις επιστημες , διδαξε τον Δαρβινο και εμπνεει τους ρεπουμπλικανους συμφωνα με τον υποψηφιο αντιπροεδρο το 2012 Paul Ryand ,την Δημοκρατια του Περικλη,τηνΕπιστημη, την Λογικη, Γλυπτικη, Κεραμικη, αρχιτεκτονικη,την Ιατρικη με τον Ορκο του Ιπποκρατη ,τον Αρχιμηδη, την Γεωμετρια του Ευκλειδη, Θουκυδιδη,την επιστολη προς Δημονικο του Ισοκρατη που διεκηρυξε « παντες οι της ημετερας παιδειας μετεχοντες ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ καλουνται»και την Ελληνικη Γλωσσα μητερα ολων των Ευρωπαικων Γλωσσων ,συμφωνα με τον «Κρατυλο» του Πλατωνα,για τον εμπλουτισμο των επιστημων και την διαδοση του σωτηριου μηνυματος του Ιησου Χριστου με το Ελληνικο Ευαγγελιο.

  6. Dear John T….

    Agreed…. I would never open nor lead, nor work again for another school system of failure based on avarice and personal gain, instead of the overall improvement of the lives of children.

    I was speaking about my own vision of a charter school. After being an administrator for almost 20 years, and teacher for 10, I have a pretty good idea of the exemplar, successful school.
    Also, Hellenes welcome, but I would primarily concentrate on the diverse, inner city school children.
    Instilling the love for God, would be first and paramount….☦️


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