ERIC Number: ED426492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jul
The Constitutionality of Education Vouchers under State and Federal Law. House Research Information Brief. Revised.
An examination of the constitutionality of education vouchers is presented in this paper. It discusses Minnesota's relevant constitutional provisions, constitutional challenges to education vouchers in other states, and federal constitutional provisions that are implicated in these discussions. In Minnesota, various challenges have been raised regarding the use of public money to support parochial schools. In Massachusetts a proposed bill to offer $100 in annual financial assistance to every elementary and secondary school student violated that state's constitution, which precludes the use of public money for the purpose of aiding nonpublic schools. The state of Washington, in 1973, struck down the state's newly enacted voucher program that provided assistance to needy and disadvantaged students in grades 1 through 12 attending public and private schools. Wisconsin's voucher program withstood constitutional challenges and continues to operate. The general principle underlying the religion clauses in the U.S. Constitution is that the country will tolerate neither governmentally established religion nor government interferences with religion. Recent Supreme Court decisions, however, have emphasized the government's responsibility to also accommodate religion. Laws must clearly state that government assistance is rendered to students or families, and not to institutions. (RJM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Minnesota House of Representatives, St. Paul. Research Dept.