Constitutionality of Vouchers and School Choice
Length: 334 words (1 double-spaced pages)
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Constitutionality of School Vouchers
Church and state absolutists believe that vouchers will violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. They argue that voucher systems give parents an incentive to send their kids to parochial school and thus represent an unconstitutional endorsement of religious education. As mentioned in the case study, the U.S. Supreme Court will address the Cleveland Scholarship Program's constitutionality. Many are anticipating what precedent will be set in this ruling because it inherently deals with defining the boundaries between church and state. Can taxpayer funds be allocated by the government to send children to a religiously-affiliated school?
Consider the case of the Cleveland Scholarship Program. This program gives parents $2250 per year. Meanwhile, the cost of tuition at a religiously-affiliated private school is, on average, about $1200. The cost of tuition at a non-religious private school is, on average, about $5000. This price breakdown shows the implicit incentive in the Cleveland program--parents who cannot afford to pay more money out of their pocket will enroll their children in religiously-affiliated private schools. The founders of Cleveland's program argue that city parents are in no way encouraged to send their kids to religious schools. Parents can choose public magnet or charter schools, which are free and get far more funding per student than voucher schools.
The importance of the Supreme Court decision that will be made should not be underestimated. "This is probably the most important church-state case in the last half-century," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "It will be a historic showdown over
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"Constitutionality of Vouchers and School Choice." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Jan 2017
123helpme.com/search.asp?text=government+funding">government funding of religion. The court must not allow tax dollars to be diverted from public schools to religious schools, and thus force all taxpayers to finance religion." The decision will have immediate implications for voucher systems in Wisconsin and Florida as well as in Ohio. It will also have implications in the deliberations of state legislatures who are considering the implementation of a voucher system.