Croydon Amendment is Unconstitutional – 1st Amendment Prohibits Discrimination Against Religious Schools

This tweet got my attention earlier today:

The #DyingPaper editorial was not very informative.  It didn’t really explain the need for an amendment, never mind produce a link to the amendment.

I was able to locate the amendment through the website of a a left-of-center organization called Reaching Higher NH:

The purpose of the amendment, as explained by Reaching Higher NH:

The original version of SB 8 would have allowed districts to send students to private schools if the district didn’t offer that grade. The Attorney General’s office, along with Rep. Neal Kurk, the House Finance Chairman, had concerns over the bill and its sister, HB 557.

The amendment aimed to remedy some of those concerns:

As amended, SB 8 excludes religious schools, a key concern raised by the attorney general’s office. It also requires private schools that accept publicly funded tuition students to administer annual standardized tests in math, English and science to those students. The aggregate scores would be reported to the commissioner of education and the local school board.

If tuitioned students at private schools score in the 40th percentile or below, the commissioner can order a review of the school to see if it’s delivering an adequate education, according to the bill.

Here is some of the relevant language, which as you can see is facially discriminatory toward religious schools:

As such, it clearly violates United States Supreme Court precedent based on the free exercise clause: “the government must “maintain strict neutrality, neither aiding nor opposing religion,” Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225 (1963,) and the establishment clause, which “requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of believers and non- believers; … State power is no more to be used so as to handicap religions than it is to favor them,” Everson v. Bd. of Educ., 330 U.S. 1, 18 (1947), and the equal protection clause:  New Jersey providing free transportation to students in all but religious schools, Everson, or New York supplying free secular text- books to all students but those attending religious schools, Bd. of Educ. v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236 (1968), constituted impermissible religious discrimination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *