Thursday, December 8, 2016

Let's Talk About Vouchers, Part Three (The Majority Opinion in Zelman) | Blue Cereal Education

Let's Talk About Vouchers, Part Three (The Majority Opinion in Zelman) | Blue Cereal Education:

Let's Talk About Vouchers, Part Three (The Majority Opinion in Zelman)



Voucher BoyWe’ve been looking at Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the case most often cited when I’m researching vouchers and their constitutionality. 
If you haven’t been with me on this lil’ journey so far, you might want to check out Part One or Part Two of this series. Or you might not. You might decide to consult other bloggers or experienced voices instead – it’s completely your choice. 
And as it turns out, “choice” is central to the Court’s 5-to-4 determination that Ohio’s voucher program was, in fact, constitutional. 
Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court. 
The State of Ohio has established a pilot program designed to provide educational choices to families with children who reside in the Cleveland City School District. The question presented is whether this program offends the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. We hold that it does not.
It’s worth noting that the question before the Court was about separation of church and state, and involved this specific program. The Court did NOT decide that all voucher programs everywhere were constitutional, and it certainly did not proclaim that they were equitable, justifiable, or in any way a good idea. 
Perhaps most significantly, this decision does nothing to address the question of whether vouchers worked.  
Rehnquist goes on to lay out the severity of the situation in Cleveland and to describe state efforts to address it before getting to the legislation in question. 
It is against this backdrop that Ohio enacted, among other initiatives, its 
Let's Talk About Vouchers, Part Three (The Majority Opinion in Zelman) | Blue Cereal Education:


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