This week’s newsletter is focused on the landmark Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in January. Many people believe the case will overturn Blaine amendments which are present in 37 states and are used to prevent the state from funding religious schools in any way. This case will be talked about for many years and could potentially open up new ways to fund religious and private schools.
The case originated with a student scholarship program which passed the Montana legislature in 2015 but was found unconstitutional by the Montana Supreme Court based on the Blaine amendment in the Montana constitution. The US Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and many believe that the Court will expand the Trinity Lutheran case to overthrow all Blaine amendments, which originated in the early 19th century in anti-Catholic sentiment.
It is important for school leaders to prepare for a new reality. As lawmakers and education departments begin to decipher a new educational funding landscape, it’s important for school leaders to consider the implications. In the newsletter below, I present some great articles which examine the origins of Blaine Amendments, the arguments for and against overthrowing these amendments and a look at creating a more just funding environment.
In addition, I explore these issues this week in the Catholic School Matters podcast by interviewing a policy advocate from Montana, one of the co-counsels of the case, and a fierce advocate for school choice. It’s a great way to explore the ideas through conversation and establishes the argument that state governments cannot show hostility toward religion.
School leaders are often busy (especially this time of year!) and we often leave policy arguments and school choice to others. But it would benefit to study this particular case and consider how our environment could soon change.
In the newsletter blog, I explore the potentially landmark school choice, Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue which might overturn all Blaine amendments and change the educational funding landscape. Here are the Top 5:
- The Atlantic has a great article (“Your Neighbor’s Christian Education , Courtesy of Your Tax Dollars”) exploring the implications of the case. It’s a great way to see how opponents of school choice are viewing this case.
- The Catholic Herald has a great article arguing for the overthrow, “A Chance to End Discrimination Against Catholic Schools.”
- Ashley Berner, a former podcast guest, has a great argument for pluralism in American schools that should be read by everyone. Here’s a short argument in the Hill, and here’s a longer read with much more detail.
- George Will’s op-ed about ending the Blaine amendments is a great read.
Have a great week!
I explore the landmark Espinoza case on the Catholic School Matters podcast. This case originated in Montana and will be heard at the US Supreme Court in January. It holds the possibility to overturn the dreaded Blaine Amendments and change state funding across the country. I am joined by Matthew Brower, the Executive Director of the Montana Catholic Conference to give us the facts of the case, attorney Erica Smith of the Institute for Justice, co-counsel on the case, and Andrea Picciotti-Bayer from the Catholic Foundation who is supporting the effort.