Mercedes Schneider on the State Blaine Amendments That Block Vouchers

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider offers a history lesson on the Blaine amendments found in most state constitutions, which require that public money go only to public schools. Some states–like Indiana–have found creative ways to interpret the Blaine amendment, by saying that the public money goes to parents, not to religious schools, but most states continue to interpret the amendments as they were written in the late 19th century.

What is a Blaine amendment and who was James G. Blaine? Schneider explains.

James G. Blaine voiced the strong anti-Catholic sentiment of his era, a sentiment shared by many other elected officials. He tried and failed to get an amendment to the U.S. Constitution barring the spending of public funds on religious schools. But most states incorporated his language, reserving public money for public schools.

Some have argued that the religious bias behind the amendments should invalidate them, but the fact that these amendments…

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