The Case for Religious Charter Schools

This summer, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Espinoza v. Montana that states must allow parents to use vouchers and other similar subsidies to send their children to religious private schools. As Justice Stephen Breyer notes in his dissent, the ruling leaves open the question of whether states that allow for the creation of charter schools—quasi-private educational institutions that are funded by the taxpayers—can permit these schools to be religious. Nicole Stelle Garnett explains the situation:

Across the U.S., 6 percent of all public-school students now attend a charter school, although the proportion is much higher in many urban districts. In contrast to the pervasive, permissible participation of religious schools in private school-choice programs, all charter schools must—by law—be secular. All states with charter programs (as well as federal statutes addressing charter schools) prohibit religious charter schools, and many prohibit religious entities from operating charter schools, even if they are secular.

But, Garnett argues, there is significant legal reason to consider charter schools private and therefore, given the Espinoza decision, it would be constitutionally permissible to allow religious charter schools. This brings Garnett to another question:

[P]rivate-choice, charter-school programs may include religious schools. But must they include them? Enter, again, Espinoza v. Montana. That case squarely raises the question: if religious charter schools are constitutional, are statutes prohibiting them unconstitutional? The answer to that question—which almost certainly will be tested in litigation in the near future—is more straightforward than the answer to the previous one: yes. If charter schools are permissible, religious charter schools must be permitted.

If religious charter schools are constitutionally permissible, then justice—as well as the Constitution—demands that they must be permitted. But that does not mean that all religious schools should become charter schools. The possibility undoubtedly appeals to many religious schools, even in states with private school-choice programs, since charter schools in most states receive substantially more funding than private schools participating in choice programs. In states without private-school choice, the charter option is even more attractive for religious schools, since the alternative to becoming a charter school is no public funding at all.

Read more at Manhattan Institute

More about: Education, Freedom of Religion, School choice


As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas