Coming up: Reflections on Zelman

Ron Matus

Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the monumental U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris – the decision that upheld the constitutionality of the voucher program in Cleveland, Ohio and accelerated school choice nationwide by describing the conditions under which parents could use public funds to pay tuition and fees at religious schools. To honor the occasion, redefinED will bring you special posts from our partners at the American Center for School Choice.

On Monday, you’ll hear from John E. Coons, a member of the ACSC board of directors and a professor of law, emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley. “Do we or don’t we want inner-city citizens exercising their rights over their own children?” he writes. “Why have we made it so hard for them? And even where we do allow them to choose a bit (as with public charter schools), what do we, as a society, gain or lose by excluding religious private schools as one among many choices?”

On Tuesday, ACSC executive director Peter Hanley will weigh in. He takes a closer look at the ongoing court battle over vouchers in Douglas County,  Colo., and writes this about some of the legal briefs filed in the case: “Drawing on the historical work of my American Center for School Choice colleagues … the briefs provide a lurid and extensive history of the anti-Catholic bigotry that led to a wave of state constitutional amendments banning funds to support “sectarian” (19th century code for “Catholic”) organizations. They make a compelling case that the trial court not only erred in finding the amendments were violated, but incorrectly ignored this shameful history that means they should be struck down.”


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