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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, June 30, 2016

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School-choice movement analyzed
Catholic News Service


School-choice initiatives have kept a relatively low profile in recent years while steadily moving along.

The movement was given a big boost in late March when the Indiana Supreme Court upheld one of the country’s most comprehensive school-choice programs. The state court backed a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said that because school vouchers primarily benefit families, they could not be viewed as an unconstitutional state support for religion.

Currently, there are 30 school-choice programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than 250,000 students. School-choice programs -- primarily vouchers and tax-credit scholarships -- have continued to grow since 1990, when the first school-voucher program started in Milwaukee, followed by similar programs in Ohio and Florida.

In the past two years, five new states have added school-choice legislation, while other states have expanded programs already in place.

But for all the steps forward, there are still school-choice programs that do not get approved, including a recent voucher proposal in Kansas. Congress also has not been keen on voucher legislation. Recently, the Senate voted down more than $14 billion in federal money for school vouchers for low-income families in an amendment to a spending bill.





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