Church & State

Learn more about the relationship between religion and schools–including the separation of church and state and issues of religious freedom
Human hand holding a magnifying glass over open holy bible book of Exodus verses for Ten Commandments, top view
Marinela Malcheva/iStock/Getty
States Does a Ten Commandments Display in Classrooms Violate the Constitution?
Louisiana is poised to become the first state to require all schools to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms.
Libby Stanford, June 13, 2024
7 min read
A green apple with a cross shaped stem in between red apples.
Richard Mia for Education Week
School Choice & Charters Opinion What Would Religious Charter Schools Mean for Public Education?
Discriminating and proselytizing on the taxpayer dime will never be acceptable, writes Kevin G. Welner.
Kevin G. Welner, May 29, 2024
5 min read
A pedestrian passes by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse, June 16, 2021, on Main Street in Richmond, Va.
A person walks near the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit's courthouse in Richmond, Va. A panel of the court denied an injunction seeking to restore religious parents' opportunity to opt their children out of LGBTQ+ "storybooks" in a Maryland district.
Steve Helber/AP
Law & Courts District Can Deny Opt-Outs on LGBTQ+ Books, Court Rules
Religious parents objected to a Maryland district's policy ending opt-outs for elementary school 'storybooks' with LGBTQ+ themes.
Mark Walsh, May 15, 2024
5 min read
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is pictured Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, during an interview in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, pictured in February, argued April 2 before the state supreme court against the nation's first religious charter school.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Law & Courts Oklahoma Supreme Court Weighs 'Test Case' Over the Nation's First Religious Charter School
The state attorney general says the Catholic-based school is not permitted under state law, while supporters cite U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Mark Walsh, April 2, 2024
5 min read
Image of a bible sitting on top of a school backpack.
Canva
States School Chaplain Bills Multiply, Stirring Debate on Faith-Based Counseling
Proponents say school chaplains could help address a mental health crisis. Opponents raise concerns about religious coercion.
Evie Blad, March 15, 2024
6 min read
"In God We Trust" is seen on a wall at South Park Elementary in Rapid City, S.D., on July 23, 2019. South Dakota is one of 17 states that requires or allows the motto to be displayed inside K-12 public schools.
"In God We Trust" is seen on a wall at South Park Elementary in Rapid City, S.D., on July 23, 2019. South Dakota is one of 17 states that require or allow the motto to be displayed inside public schools.
Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP
States Louisiana’s Public Schools Must Now Display ‘In God We Trust’ in Classrooms
Mandates like Louisiana's are relatively common, and they are also controversial.
Sarah Schwartz, August 3, 2023
5 min read
Illustration of an online teacher working with four students.
Olivia_art/iStock/Getty
Law & Courts Lawsuit Challenges First Religious Charter School in Oklahoma
The suit argues that the Catholic virtual school violates a state constitutional requirement that public schools not be "sectarian."
Mark Walsh, July 31, 2023
4 min read
The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon, April 19, 2023, in Washington.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon, April 19, 2023, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines to Hear Closely Watched Case on Charter Schools
The justices won't consider whether charter schools are "state actors," which has implications for the push for religious charter schools.
Mark Walsh, June 26, 2023
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters Opinion Oklahoma Has Approved the Nation's First Religious Charter School. What's That Mean?
A charter authorizer has endorsed a statewide virtual school, which will be run by a Roman Catholic archdiocese and diocese.
Rick Hess, June 7, 2023
9 min read
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond speaks during an interview, Feb. 1, 2023, in Oklahoma City. The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, a state school board in Oklahoma, voted Monday, June 5, to approve what would be the first publicly funded religious school in the nation, despite a warning from the state's attorney general that the decision was unconstitutional. Drummond had previously warned the board that such a decision clearly violated the Oklahoma Constitution.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond speaks during an interview, Feb. 1, 2023, in Oklahoma City. The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, a state school board in Oklahoma, voted Monday, June 5, to approve what would be the first publicly funded religious charter school in the nation, despite Drummond previously warning the board that such a decision violates the Oklahoma Constitution.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
School Choice & Charters Approval of Nation's 1st Religious Charter School Will Spark Legal Battle
A state board voted 3-2 to approve the St. Isidore Catholic Virtual Academy, which will aim to open in fall 2024, pending a court battle.
Mark Walsh, June 6, 2023
5 min read
This June 1, 2021, file photo shows the State Capitol in Austin, Texas.
This June 1, 2021, file photo shows the State Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP
Student Well-Being Chaplains Could Work as School Counselors Under Bill Passed in Texas
Critics see the measure as a continuation of the erosion of the concept of separating church from state.
Elizabeth Heubeck, May 25, 2023
3 min read
Photo of girl using laptop computer at home.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
School Choice & Charters Nation's First Religious Charter School Denied, For Now
The action by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board buys some time to consider the implications, including for the members themselves.
Mark Walsh, April 12, 2023
5 min read
Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table and Lawyer or Judge working with agreement in Courtroom, Justice and Law concept.
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock
Law & Courts Court Backs Firing of Teacher Who Refused to Use Transgender Students’ Names
The appellate court said a teacher seeking a religious accommodation under Title VII caused undue hardship for a school district.
Mark Walsh, April 10, 2023
6 min read
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is pictured Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, during an interview in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond withdrew his predecessor's opinion that had fueled hopes the state might approve religious charter schools.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
School Choice & Charters A Major Reversal on Religious Charter Schools in Oklahoma
The attorney general withdrew his predecessor's opinion that religious groups could not be excluded from the state charter school program.
Mark Walsh, February 24, 2023
4 min read