A Case for the Constitutionality of School Choice
AbstractSchool-choice programs involve the capacity of parents to select among public, private non-sectarian, and religious schools for education of their children, without being greatly penalized financially. To opponents ofschool choice, such a policy violates the First Amendment prohibition of government establishment of a religion. This essay reviews major U.S. Supreme Court (and some state supreme court) cases on public education as impacted by the doctrine of separation of church and state. The author concludes that effective school choice programs can be designed that are compatible with the major court precedents. Key considerations include the intent of the program, its practical effects, who holds the choice, the degree of governmental â€œentanglementâ€ with religion, and religious freedom.
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