Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer and Religious Charters - The Atlantic

Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer and Religious Charters - The Atlantic:

Will Churches Ever Be Allowed to Run Charter Schools?
Some legal scholars say Trinity Lutheran v. Comer could forge a path toward more charter schools overseen by religious groups.   


The reverend Michael Faulkner wanted to start a charter school through his church in Harlem. But there was a problem: New York law bars religious denominations from running charters, even if, as Faulkner promised, the school would teach a secular curriculum.

So Faulkner—a one-time NFL player who ran for Congress in 2010—and his church sued.

“The New York Charter Schools Act is nothing more than an attempt by the State to erect a barrier for those who express their religious beliefs from access to public resources that are generally available to all others,” read the 2007 complaint.
The suit was voluntarily dismissed in 2009, and Faulkner, now running for city comptroller, described it as “dormant.” But a recent Supreme Court decision might mean that suits like that one have a better chance of prevailing.

Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer invalidated a Missouri rule banning a religious school from participating in a public program, and experts immediately noted it could be used to eliminate legal barriers to private-school voucher programs. The implications for charter schools drew less attention.

But two legal scholars tell Chalkbeat, which published this story in partnership with The Atlantic, that the ruling might also pave the way for more charter schools operated by religious groups, including churches.

Trinity Lutheran opens the door because it states simply that if a religious entity is otherwise qualified to take part in a public benefit program, then it cannot be prohibited solely on the basis of its religious affiliation,” said the University of Connecticut professor Preston Green.

Aaron Saiger, a law professor at Fordham University, agreed.
“I have no doubt that this case makes the door more open than it was a month Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer and Religious Charters - The Atlantic:




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