The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed that the state of Maine may not selectively discriminate against religious schools or the families who choose to send their children to them. Carson v. Makin is long overdue but still a welcome win for educational choice and pluralism.
Maine operates a tuition-assistance program for parents who live in school districts without their own secondary schools. The parents choose a school, public or private, and the state helps them pay to attend. A range of schools are eligible, including ones outside Maine, and many offer elite programming and plush amenities that differ dramatically from public offerings. Yet the state refuses support to families that choose a “sectarian” school—one that “promotes the faith or belief system with which it is associated” or “presents the material taught through the lens of this faith.”