High Court Gives School Choice A Chance – OpEd


Can students selected for a publicly funded school choice scholarship elect to attend a Catholic school? Can the state lend secular textbooks to Catholic schools? In both cases, previously decided, school choice was struck down by state courts, the former in Colorado and the latter in New Mexico. Now that has changed.

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court, which held these cases at bay until it reached its decision on June 26 in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, vacated these rulings, remanding them to the lower courts for reconsideration in light of Trinity.

This is the closest that the proponents of school choice have ever come to winning in the U.S. Supreme Court. In effect, it sends a powerful message to the 39 states that have a Blaine amendment—laws based on 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry—that they had better rethink statutes that discriminate against parochial schools in the distribution of public funds.

It is up to state lawmakers to introduce legislation that allows for non-discriminatory school voucher programs, and all other measures that provide parents with choice in education. Education equality is long overdue.

Those who seek to keep the poor in their place—by condemning innocent minority children to failed public schools in the inner-city—are the big losers. Their rhetoric is clearly pro-poor, but their behavior is decisively anti-poor, and that is all that matters.

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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