Okla. Approves US' First Publicly Funded Religious School

Okla. Approves US' First Publicly Funded Religious School
Image copyright: Zakarie Faibis [via Wikimedia Commons]

The Facts

  • On Monday, the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 to allow the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma to open the first publicly funded religious school in the US — the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School.

  • However, Republican state Attorney General Gentner Drummond, in a statement, called this approval “contrary to Oklahoma law” and warned that the board and the state could be subject to “legal action that could be costly.”

The Spin

Left narrative

The archdiocese and its allies shouldn’t celebrate too hard. The board’s decision won’t be able to withstand upcoming legal challenges, as it clearly violates the state’s charter school law that requires schools to be non-sectarian. In addition, the school’s application openly says it will violate regulations against discrimination to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Right narrative

Anti-religious groups should make all the legal challenges they want, but remember that recent Supreme Court rulings have paved the way for schools like this to obtain public funding. Parents, not the state, should determine the best learning environment for their children, and this school will provide another attractive option.

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