Education: Saving Parochial Schools

Parochial schools, which enroll some 90% of all private-school students in the U.S., are in deep financial trouble. And the Supreme Court has not yet decided how far the separate states can go in using public funds to rescue them.

The real question is whether the Court is inclined to interpret the First Amendment in terms of absolutism or pragmatism. In recent years, the nation's social needs have modified the separation of church and state. Churches receive many kinds of government aid for their hospitals, poverty work and other public services. The rationale, as lawmakers see it, is that churches play a...

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