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The Legal Landscape of Parental-Choice Policy

November 5, 2015
By Nicole Stelle Garnett

The U.S. Spreme Court decision Zelman v.

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The U.S. Spreme Court decision Zelman v. Simmons-Harris cleared away the most significant obstacle to the expansion of private school choice programs by ruling that the First Amendment's establishment clause does not preclude faith-based schools from particpating in private school choice programs.

Private school choice programs raise other important legal quesions, which fall into four categories: the scope of students' rights to an education and parents' rights to choose their children's schools, state-constitutional obsticles to private-school choice, the effect of laws governing racial integration and the inclusion of disabled students, and the rleigious-liberty implications of faith-based schools participating in such programs.

The lack of clarity on these questions poses challenges, but also opportunities, for proponents of private school choice to scale exisiting programs and expand program options.  

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