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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Church, state and public school: Is the wall crumbling?

An Oklahoma board rejected a proposed Catholic charter school, citing the need for clarification on how a tax-funded Catholic school would be constitutional, reports Kelsey Ables in the Washington Post.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will submit a revised application for its proposed virtual school. If approved, St. Isidore of Seville would be the first religiously affiliated charter school in the nation.

Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley and Ingrid Bergman as Sister Mary Benedict in "The Bells of St. Mary's."

Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, argues that religious liberty “precludes the government from singling out believers for disfavor or preventing them from fully participating in public life, including in public-benefits programs.”

St. Isidore may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

With "private school choice on the march," those on the left might consider if they prefer faith-based charter schools to using tax funds to pay for religious private schools, writes Andy Smarick of the Manhattan Institute

In Arizona, one of the nation’s most successful charter operators plans to start faith-based classical schools that would "access public funding via a new state Education Savings Account program that gives education dollars directly to families," he writes.

New "choice programs have been passed in Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Utah, with progress in Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas," Smarick writes. "Growing and diversifying options inside of the public system may be the best, if not only, way to respond to families’ interest in choice while preserving key elements of public schooling, like transparency, accountability, and a degree of democratic control."

Only 38 percent of Democrats support charter schools, he writes. But many families on the left, right and center are experimenting with educational options: They want choices. Rather than just voting "no," leftists could "support more school options and increased parental power inside a public system of transparency and accountability. . . . When the Supreme Court eventually rules that states with charter school laws must permit faith-based charters, the left will be glad that they had a hand in crafting those programs instead of standing on the sidelines."

1 Comment

Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Apr 19, 2023

Parent Performance Contracting* (PPC) addresses most of the objections to tuition vouchers, charter schools, education tax credits, and education savings accounts.


Confers more freedom on parents than tuition vouchers, charter schools, education tax credits, or education savings accounts

Requires no new administrative machinery

Requires no additional funds

Is immune to the objection that it "takes money from public schools"

Provides financial and performance accountability

Poses less of a threat to the independence of parochial schools than tuition vouchers

Elides First Amendment "establishment" clause arguments.

* PPC. Search "The Harriet Tubman Agenda, The Proposal"

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