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Commentary By Nicole Stelle Garnett

The Future for Religious Charter Schools

Education, Culture Pre K-12

As the band Buffalo Springfield put it more than a half-century ago, “there’s something happening here.” Indeed, there is. What is “happening” in Oklahoma is a striking development in educational policy, one that promotes pluralism, enhances opportunity, and vindicates religious freedom. 

The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School board, which authorizes and oversees all virtual charter schools in the state, meets today to consider certifying an unusual, pathbreaking school. The St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School—named for the patron saint of the internet—is clear and candid about its character and mission. “To the extent permissible under the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act,” its application says, the school will operate “in harmony with faith and morals … as taught and understood by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church based on Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.” As the application’s drafters are no doubt aware, though, relevant Oklahoma law requires that charter schools be “nonsectarian” and prohibits chartering schools that are “affiliated with a . . . religious institution.” 

Continue reading the entire piece here at First Things


Nicole Stelle Garnett is the John P. Murphy Foundation professor of law at University of Notre Dame and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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