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Religious Charter Schools: Legally Possible and Politically Advisable?

Chester E. Finn, Jr. Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Nicole Stelle Garnett John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School, and Senior Policy Advisor, Alliance for Catholic Education
M. Karega Rausch Interim President & CEO, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Andy Smarick Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Tue, Aug 4, 2020

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Religious Charter Schools: Legally Possible and Politically Advisable?

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Tuesday August 4
Tuesday August 4 2020
PAST EVENT Tuesday August 4 2020

In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court ruled that barring faith-based schools from participating in a private school choice program solely on the basis of religion is unconstitutional. With this decision, “no-aid” clauses (known as Blaine Amendments) may have been all but nullified in 37 state constitutions. States now have the freedom to create school choice programs that include provisions for religious schools.

But the logic of Espinoza might not stop there. If religious schools can’t be barred from a private school choice program, can religion disqualify groups from taking part in public charter schooling?

The effects of Espinoza could be profound. Are state-level rules banning religious organizations from running charters now unconstitutional? If so, could a religious organization run a public charter school that uses religion in its curriculum and instruction?

On August 4, the Manhattan Institute hosted a discussion with education policy expert Chester E. Finn, Jr., law professor Nicole Stelle Garnett, and charter school expert M. Karega Rausch, on the legal and policy consequences (and possibilities) of charter schooling following Espinoza.

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EducationPre K-12
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