New Mexico’s highest court has struck down the state’s provision of free textbooks to private school students as a violation of the state constitution. In doing so, the court rejected arguments that because New Mexico funds its instructional materials with money from federal mineral leases, those federal funds are not subject to the state constitution.
The state supreme court ruled that lending textbooks to private school students violates a provision of the state constitution that prohibits state mineral funds to be used “for the support of any sectarian, denominational or private school, college, or university.”
The court said New Mexico’s constitutional language barring aid to private schools is more restrictive than the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment provision barring any government establishment of religion.
A version of this article appeared in the December 02, 2015 edition of Education Week as N.M. Private School Students Denied Publicly Funded Texts