The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue if the state’s Blaine Amendment can be used to prevent tuition tax credit programs from using dollars to help students attend religious schools (“Consign James Blaine to Memory Lane,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 16). Its ruling will affect the 3.8 million students enrolled in religious schools across the nation.
As readers of this column know, I support parental choice, but I draw a line when it comes to the use of tax dollars for religious schools. Yes, religious schools can provide a quality education, especially for low-income children trapped in terrible public schools. But if the high court strikes down the Blaine Amendment, it will open the door to further support of religious schools. We’ve already seen the slow erosion of the wall between church and state, but I think it is nothing compared with what will ensue.
Yeshivas in New York State, for example, are supposed to provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that provided by public schools. But many do not, claiming religious liberty. Either we believe in public schools or we don’t. If public dollars were allowed to pay for tuition at religious schools, enrollment would jump, draining funds for traditional public schools. That happened in Cleveland a decade ago.
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