On public support for religious schools

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I explore arguments about the fairness of the present arrangement barring public support for religious instruction in separate schools. I show that the arrangement is based on a consensus formed during the 1920s that established a strong conceptual separation between the notions of public and private, where religious schooling is relegated to the private sphere. I ask whether this conceptual separation forged in the 1920s is still viable. I explore different proposed reasons for altering this conception of the private-public divide when it comes to supporting religious schools, and show that there are reasons, both from the point of view of religion and from the point of view of the state, to be cautious about a radical change in the present configuration of support. One implication of this argument is that fairness is not a matter of public support for separate religious schools. Fairness depends on the quality of public education available for poor children. I conclude by suggesting that the terms for arguing the issue of public support for religious schools needs to be reoriented to take into account the future autonomy interests of the child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-856
Number of pages16
JournalTeachers College Record
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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