private school, faith-based education, government funding, education policy, accountability


In the United States, debates about private and faith-based education tend to focus on questions about government funding: which kinds of schools should the government fund (and at what levels)? Should, for example, students be able to use public funds to attend privately operated schools? Faith-based schools? If so, what policy mechanisms should be used to fund private schools—vouchers, tax credits, direct transfer payments? How much funding should these schools receive? The same amount as public schools or less? As a historical matter, the focus on funding in the United States makes sense because only public (that is, government-operated) elementary and secondary schools historically received government funding. Indeed, although demands that the government fund schools outside of the public sector span over a century and a half, proponents of public funding for private schools have—until quite recently—faced seemingly insurmountable political and legal hurdles.