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6 - Balancing the Guarantees of No Establishment and Free Exercise of Religion in American Education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 October 2021

John Witte, Jr.
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

The Supreme Court has devoted nearly a third of its religious freedom cases to questions of religion and education. While government has the power to mandate basic education for all children, the Court has held, parents have the right to choose public, private, or homeschool education for their minor children, and government may now facilitate that choice through vouchers and tax breaks. While the First Amendment forbids most forms of religion in public schools, it protects most forms of religion in private schools. While the First Amendment forbids government from funding the core religious activities of private schools, it permits delivery of general governmental services, subsidies, scholarships, and tax breaks to public and private schools, teachers, and students alike. While the First Amendment forbids public-school teachers from offering religious instruction and expression in public-school classes and events, it permits public-school students to engage in private religious expression free from coercion. The amendment further requires that religious parties have equal access to public facilities, forums, and funds that are open to their nonreligious peers.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Blessings of Liberty
Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the Western Legal Tradition
, pp. 171 - 195
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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