Our Sunday Visitor, the Catholic newspaper, interviewed Acton Research Fellow Kevin Schmiesing for a story about the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out a lawsuit against an Arizona tax-credit program that helps private schools.
Here’s some commentary from Kevin (the full story is now behind the OSV paywall).
Kevin E. Schmiesing, a Catholic historian and research fellow at the Acton Institute, a free-market think tank, agreed that the Supreme Court ruling is a hopeful sign for school choice advocates, even considering the unresolved questions about individual state courts.
“Presumably, this will encourage and embolden them,” said Schmiesing, adding that the court’s ruling demonstrated a growing willingness to accept voucher programs.
“It’s a confirmation of a trend that has been in place for some time now. Given the way the Supreme Court is made up right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them overturn a state court ruling against these type of programs.”
Whether the Arizona system becomes a model for the schoolchoice movement remains to be seen.
… Schmiesing said he personally favors the Arizona model. “Tax credits are better than vouchers in some ways,” he said.
“It creates a little bit of a buffer between government funding and the schools. The money never goes through a government entity. I think it is more politically viable for many reasons, and there seems to be a lot of support for it.”
… Schmiesing … says many Catholic school systems, which have struggled with declining enrollments in many parts of the country, stand to benefit if the school-choice movement gains added traction. But there’s a “but.”
“For some, this will be a shot in the arm,” he said. “But this is not a magic bullet, given that Catholic schools face many different challenges in different parts of the country, that include the loss of Catholic identity in some circumstances.”
Read the Supreme Court ruling: Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn et al.