IS IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL TO PROHIBIT FAITH-BASED SCHOOLS FROM BECOMING CHARTER SCHOOLS?

Stephen D. Sugarman
2017 The Journal of Law and Religion  
This article argues that it is unconstitutional for state charter school programs to preclude faith-based schools from obtaining charters. The first section describes the "school choice" movement of the past fifty years, situating charter schools in that movement. The current state of play of school choice is documented and the roles of charter schools, private schools (primarily faith-based schools), and public school choice options are elaborated. The second section argues that based on the
more » ... rrent state of the law it should not be unconstitutional, under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, for states to elect to make faith-based schools eligible for charters, and, therefore, the current practice of formal discrimination on the basis of religion against families and school founders who want faith-based charter schools should be deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Put differently, this is not the sort of issue in which the "play in the joints" between the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses should apply so as to give states the option of restricting charter schools to secular schools.
doi:10.1017/jlr.2017.27 fatcat:asuwguqpxrdklartyxbcjkdwpu