US Supreme Court Ruled Maine’s Exclusionary Public School’s Tuition Program, Must Include Religious Schools

WASHINGTON, DC (June 22, 2022)—the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Maine’s tuition assistance program and in favor of religious schools eroding a “wall of separation between church and state.”

The Supreme Court ruled that States tuition programs… which provides funding for public school tuition  can not exclude religious schools.

 The result in Carson v Makin is no surprise. The writing has been on the wall since 2017, when the Supreme Court ruled that public grants for cushier playgrounds must be open to secular and church-based preschools alike. Three years later, the justices said states may not exclude schools from an aid program just because they have a religious affiliation. But in Carson, the court took a further, step in its ruling.

“Maine’s school districts operate a public high school, the state offers tuition assistance to parents who wish to educate their children in private—but not sectarian—schools. Carson requires Maine to extend their tuition program to including religious missions and curriculums.

The Maine state legislature created a tuition program that assists students that require paying public or private schools inside or outside the state. This legislature was created so children would be able to receive a free public education. 

In 2018, parents reported to the U.S district court that the program violated their rights to the First amendment, the freedom to practice religion.  These parents wanted to send their kids to a Christian school because it didn’t qualify for the tuition program, meaning it wasn’t necessary to attend. 

On June 21, 2022 the Supreme court ruled that Maine violated the Constitution when they didn’t make public funding available for students that attend schools that were centered around religion. 

“… Maine’s “nonsectarian” requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion…” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. 

Chief Justice Roberts also explained that even though Maine pays tuition for students that attend private schools, they do not for religious schools; which is considered discrimination against religion and violates the Constitution. 

“…Saying that Maine offers a benefit limited to private secular education is just another way of saying that Maine does not extend tuition assistance payments to parents who choose to educate their children at religious schools” Robert stated. 

The Court’s ruling defined Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits  discrimination based on religion in public primary and secondary schools … ruling that its unconstitutional to exclude religious schools as part of tuition programs managed by the States. 

“In God We Trust.”

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Source: Bee News Daily Reporter Julia Nixon contributed to the article.

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