Little-Known Supreme Court Case May Have Outsize Impact on School Choice

Given the fact that the news media has been focusing on impeachment and the upcoming Democrat caucuses and primaries, it’s not surprising that Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue isn’t getting much attention. It deserves our attention.

This all-important case will drastically impact how and where parents will send their children to school in America. It could either open the door for parents to gain access to top-quality educational options, or slam that door shut.

The case started when Kendra Espinoza, who was struggling to cover tuition costs to send her children to a private Christian school, began looking for ways to obtain financial assistance. Montana has a state-run program that gives scholarships to cover the costs of private school tuition, using money donated by businesses and individuals who receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit in return. However, Mrs. Espinoza was told that she and other applicants weren’t eligible for funding because an outdated law states that the government should not provide funding for religious education.

Espinoza and two other mothers then sued the state’s Department of Revenue, rightly stating that their educational freedom is being violated by the law. And they’re right: there is no reason to deny funding other than the fact that the ultimate recipient of the funding is a Christian rather than a secular private school.

Naturally, left-wing pundits are frantically telling anyone who will listen that a ruling in favor of Mrs. Espinoza will “obliterate the line between church and state” and “promote anti-LGBTQ propaganda”.

These leftist hacks point to the fact that many Christian schools use faith-based curriculums that promote intelligent design, sexual abstinence until marriage, traditional marriage, a natural appreciation of one’s body and gender, and a faith-based outlook on past and current world events. Apparently, these things are deeply problematic…

Activists are also proclaiming that the state should not give public taxpayer dollars to any religious school, as doing so violates the “separation of church and state” mandated by the Constitution. They say that this would force non-religious taxpayers to foot the bill for a religious agenda. However, they fail to note the obvious fact that Christians, like secularists, pay state taxes and donate to the state’s scholarship programs that promote a secular agenda.

Adding state funding options would enable parents to pursue the best educational options for their own situation. Montana comes in twenty-third place in a list of states with the best public-school systems, and ranks an abysmal thirty-seven place in safety. It’s no wonder that parents are looking for other options. However, public school teacher unions such as the American Federation of Teachers use every trick in the book to keep children stuck in bad school environments. Put simply, they’re putting their own careers over the future of the state’s children.

It’s difficult to say who will win in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case. The Supreme Court may give school choice the victory, given the fact that the court has already ruled in the Trinity Lutheran Church vs. Comer case. That decision meant that the government can’t discriminate against religious institutions.

However, Justices Breyer and Roberts are undecided at this point, and both have expressed concern about broader issues concerning funding for public schools. In any case, the future of America’s students hangs in the balance.

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