Education: what’s next after the High Court ruling on religious schools?

Public education faces declining enrollment, fragile parental trust, and significant learning losses. This week, the United States Supreme Court added another factor to the difficult education landscape: a ruling that allows more public funds to flow to religious schools.

While not as high-profile as the gun and abortion cases decided by judges this quarter, Tuesday’s decision in Carson v. Makin could have a significant impact on schooling in the United States over time.

Some believe the very nature of secular public education is at stake, causing both excitement and dismay. The effects of the decision could range from more families unenrolling from local schools, to more taxpayer dollars being spent on religious education, public schooling and a growing list of alternatives continuing to delicately coexist.

Why we wrote this

The Supreme Court’s decision this week regarding public funds for religious schools raises questions about the future of public education and whether more taxpayer dollars could eventually fuel a wide range of options. of schooling.

” This [case] is already a rallying cry for those interested in defending public education and the value of public schools in American life. I also think this is absolutely a huge win for the school choice movement,” said Michael Graziano, director of the Institute for Religion and Education at the University of Northern Iowa. “It continues the tendency of this court to try to transform public institutions into private or religious institutions in particular. »

In a 6-to-3 decision, the court ruled that Maine must include religious schools in its single school curriculum. Maine, the most rural state in the United States, has about 5,000 students who live in cities without public schools for their grade level or contracts with neighboring school districts. The state provides these families with funds to attend public or private schools of their choice. The state had restricted tuition funds to exclude “sectarian” religious schools until the court struck down that law.