It is almost impossible to imagine a more mistaken reading of our history than that put forward by Dr. Cassin.
The earliest Americans fled England because they were persecuted for believing other than the dictates of the Anglican Church. Wave after wave of subsequent immigrants fled similar persecutions in other countries. So traumatized were these people that practically the first thing they demanded was the separation of church from state. Fully recognizing this, the Founding Fathers wrote the principle into our Constitution.
It was the ultimate decision of the whole American people to provide public education and pay for it with public funds, education free of sectarian beliefs. The result was a school system that was the envy of the world. It was an added reason for the flocking of immigrants to our county. Ever since, that glorious principle has been attacked, starved for funds, and chipped away. We spend less on public education than any other civilized country in the world. It is no wonder that we are falling behind.
Of course, parents have the right to choose their children's schools. They do not have the right to ask their fellow citizens to pay for their sectarian ones. Many, many parents do so choose and do pay for such schools themselves. Assemblyman Sidikman is absolutely right on that score. I am not Catholic and should not be forced to pay for Catholic education...or Jewish...or Hindu...or Muslim...or any other. Particularly if it means depriving my children in the public schools.
Finally....While Glen Cove has fought off the Covello/Edison school, the victory is only a temporary one. There's just too much possible profit for them. They salivate at the prospect. Just today they have succeeded in taking over five New York City public schools. That would not be so bad if Edison provided quality. But anyone who attended the board of education meeting saw how dismally inferior their program is. Albany ought to be informed of how terrible they are. It was plain as the nose your face that the Glen Cove public schools are infinitely superior. That is, not to say, they cannot be improved; indeed should be improved. With public support they will be. Already, under our new superintendent, there has been a noticeable lift in school spirit among the students and among their parents. Let's keep it that way. Let's not have any more austerity budgets. It's our children we're playing Russian roulette with.