CNN Report Criticizes Religious School Amid Growing School Choice Movement

On Friday, CNN News Central aired a hit piece examining the impact of school choice on Arizona’s education system. Rather than focusing on the documented issues within public schools, correspondent René Marsh turned her attention to religious institutions with ties to conservative groups, claiming they are at the heart of a significant “civil rights issue.”

The primary target of the investigation was Dream City Christian School, which is affiliated with the pro-Trump organization Turning Point USA. This school, according to its website, aims to counter what it perceives as morally bankrupt and liberal ideologies, including critical race theory, evolutionism, and gender identity. Despite its religious teachings, the school receives partial funding from taxpayer dollars through state vouchers.

Marsh reported, “A CNN investigation found Dream City Christian received more taxpayer money than 95% of the private schools in the state voucher program. A total of $1.3 million last year, according to data CNN obtained. This, despite the school’s anti-LGBTQ mandates in its parent handbook, which require faculty and parents to agree that homosexual behavior is sinful and that rejecting one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God.”

In her report, Marsh interviewed several opponents of the legislation, including a professor who deemed it “a civil rights issue” for a Christian school to receive taxpayer funding while teaching traditional Biblical ethics. Critics also voiced concerns over the potential decline of the public school system as more parents opt for private education funded by vouchers.

The report, however, did not address the ongoing challenges and shortcomings of the public school system. Arizona has seen significant improvements due to its Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program, which allows all K-12 students to access state funds for private education. According to the Daily Signal, the state has made substantial progress in closing educational gaps, particularly for low-income students.

Marsh’s focus on the perceived negatives of school choice overlooked the broader benefits. Arizona’s ESA Program supports the notion that education should not be a one-size-fits-all solution. The program empowers parents to choose schools that align with their values and meet their children’s needs, a point Marsh criticized in her report.

As the school choice movement gains traction nationwide, many parents are expressing dissatisfaction with the current public education system and its perceived liberal agenda. The potential decline of public schools may become a reality if these institutions do not address these concerns. In the meantime, no amount of critical reporting is likely to deter the growing support for school choice and the pursuit of diverse educational opportunities.

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