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Catholic Schools and the Courts. A short history of hard-won existence. In the beginning…. There were no “public” schools. Schools were begun by churches, operated and staffed by laypersons. The purpose of schools was both secular and religious.

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catholic schools and the courts

Catholic Schools and the Courts

A short history of hard-won existence

in the beginning
In the beginning…..
  • There were no “public” schools.
  • Schools were begun by churches, operated and staffed by laypersons.
  • The purpose of schools was both secular and religious.
  • Few children attended school; fewer beyond the age of 12.
in the beginning1
In the beginning….
  • When “public” schools began, they had a religious component.
  • They were tax-supported locally; Federal involvement non-existent because of the “reserved powers”
  • The waves of immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries changed the face of education.
catholic schools
Catholic schools...
  • Came out of the European tradition
  • Proliferated because of the waves of Catholic immigrants;
  • Encountered opposition among Church leaders in the US
  • Although they were almost exclusively tuition-free, never enrolled more than 50% of the Catholic population of children.
catholic schools1
Catholic schools...
  • Were tolerated until after WWI
  • New feelings of xenophobia
  • New anti-Catholic biases
  • Subject to state regulations
  • Came under compulsory education laws
pierce v society of sisters 1926
Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 1926
  • 1922 compulsory ed law: every child between the ages of 8 and 16 in a public school, if they had not completed grade 8
  • Society of Sisters was Holy Names in Oregon.
  • Case decided on 14th amendment rights(saw Catholic schools same as businesses)
meyer v nebraska 1923
Meyer v. Nebraska 1923
  • Statute that forbade the teaching of German language
  • Court held that the teacher had the right to teach German
  • Parents had the right to enroll their children in a private school that taught German language
  • State had no compelling interest
stephens v bongart ny 1937
Stephens v. Bongart (NY) 1937
  • Is home instruction equivalent to compliance with compulsory attendance?
  • Parents failed to establish equivalency
state v massa nj 1967
State v. Massa (NJ 1967)
  • Is home schooling equivalent?
  • Does it mean compliance with compulsory attendance?
  • Parents proved equivalency of instruction
wisconsin v yoder 1972
Wisconsin v.Yoder 1972
  • Also concerned compulsory attendance
  • Cited Pierce
  • Sincerity of religious belief
  • Established grounds for other religious exemptions, e.g. immunization, pledge to the flag, etc.
the biggie lemon v kurtzman 1971
The Biggie: Lemon v.Kurtzman 1971
  • Use of vouchers and tax credits
  • Resulted in the “Lemon Test”:
    • Primary purpose
    • Primary effect
    • Unnecessary entanglement
esea 1965
ESEA: 1965
  • Federal entanglement
  • Use of the term “nonpublic”
  • Legislation included religious schools
  • Barrera V. Wheeler 1973: should nps services be equal or equivalent?
esea aguilar v felton 1985
ESEA: Aguilar v. Felton 1985
  • Application of on-site service failed “Lemon” test;
  • Similar PERL suits regarding use of “religious electricity”
  • Posited on an assumption, not a fact.
esea agostini v felton 1997
ESEA: Agostini v.Felton 1997
  • On-site services did not violate Establishment Clause provisions
  • Primary purpose: remediation of poor children
  • Aguilar had resulted in “excessive entanglement”
  • Title I has enough safeguards
idea and special education
IDEA and Special Education
  • Zobrest 1993: student could have an interpreter
  • Russman 1996 reversed Zobrest
  • IDEA will be under reauthorization in the next Congress
does kiryas meet the lemon test
Does Kiryas meet the “Lemon Test”?
  • Established by the Cuomo administration
  • Has been successfully challenged three times by NYSUT
  • Continues to be authorized by the NYS legislature; exists today
what s next
What’s Next?
  • Zellman-Cleveland voucher case
  • Reauthorization of IDEA
  • New programs under NCLB
  • Spitzer meeting re: AIS
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