The Supreme Court Must Protect the Future of Public Education

A new Supreme Court case threatens to forever change American public education.


Joe Ravi

Image of the Supreme Court Building courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

We as a country have long held the belief in religious freedom protected by the first amendment. Carson v. Makin threatens this belief.
This case is now at the forefront of the debate over religious freedom. There is, however, only one way for the court to rule on this issue; they must rule against the petitioners.
The facts of the case are as follows. Amy and David Carson are long-time residents of Glenburn, Maine. They met while attending Bangor Christian Schools, and because of that, they want their daughter, Oliva, to attend the school as well. Glenburn has no public school and, as such, relies on a program administered by the State of Maine known as SAUs or school administrative units. As part of this program, an SAU can contract with another public school or pay the tuition of an “approved” private school. So-called approved schools must meet certain standards set by the state, such as compulsory attendance, be approved by the Maine Department of Education, and most importantly, be “nonsectarian in accordance with the First Amendment.” The Carsons chose to send their daughter to Bangor Christian Schools at their own expense. Then, they filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the “nonsectarian” requirement violates the Constitution on its face and as applied. A federal judge ruled in favor of the State of Maine and a federal appellate judge affirmed the ruling. However, in July 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to the plaintiffs and agreed to hear the case. Court watchers are now speculating that the conservative Supreme Court could overturn decades of tradition and rule in favor of the Carsons.
Our nation flourishes because of our values of religious freedom. When the line between public school and religious school is blurred, it becomes a government endorsement of religion which goes against the principles outlined by our founding fathers when crafting the first amendment. Public money should not go to schools that don’t aline with the values identified by taxpayers. This is why private schools were created. If parents are not happy with the values set by the state, they are free to seek an alternative at their own expense.
One of the things that allowed America to succeed in the past century has been our public education system. We as Americans believe that every, child regardless of income, race, or, religion deserves a quality education. What is at stake here, in this case, is the ability of every American to receive a quality education. Should the court rule in favor of the parents, parents across the country would be free to pull their children out of public schools and into religious schools. What would happen is that public schools would lose funding, and the promise to provide quality education to every American child would be unable to be met. We have seen this trend happen in other places, especially with the rise of charter schools. Charter schools in the past twenty years have drained money from local public schools causing many of them to falter. The rise of the “school choice” movement has been identified by many as the end of neighborhood public schools. Under the guise of choice, activists have systematically limited the ability to choose a quality neighborhood public school. When our public schools
The question before the court is simple: Do they value the future of the American educational system? If so, there is only one right vote: They must vote against the petitioner.