“The most important producer of human capital in the United States is the public education system” (Brimley & Garfield, 2008, p. 1). In order for the public education system to produce human capital, it must be provided the necessary resources. How these resources are provided has changed over the years and will continue to change in the years to come. The following paragraphs will take a look at the future of educational financing by taking a look at various issues facing education today and exploring the impact that they will have 10 years from now.
The Future of Educational Finance
The Lemon Test
The Lemon Test was created by the Supreme Court as a means of judging whether certain legislature is connected inappropriately to religion. The test asked three specific questions to determine if a law was against the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “Does the activity have a clearly secular purpose? Does the activity either advance or inhibit the free exercise of religion? Does the activity excessively entangle the public school system with religion?” (Cambre, 2009, p. 62).
While the Lemon Test certainly helps define a correlation between legislature and the first amendment, the problem that has continually arisen is the subjective nature of both the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the questions themselves. Throughout the recent past, many judges have been able to work around the Lemon Test when looking at religion in schools. One specific instance occurred in an Ohio court that ruled “parents had the right to choose the type of school their students attended and that the state of Ohio did not coerce parents into choosing religious schools” (Cambre, 2009, p. 62). There have been many other court cases where the judges were able to rule for providing funds to religious schools, utilizing student and parent rights, and the lack of “excessive entangle” by the state.
The subjectivity will continue to cause debate as the Lemon Test is utilized as the deciding factor in First Amendment cases involving school funding. Additionally, as new forms of education, such as virtual schools and school voucher systems begin to form, more concerns over the mix of funding education and religious beliefs will fill the courts. “States have the ability to regulate cyber charter schools just as they regulate traditional schools, private schools, and home-schooling” (Cambre, 2009, p. 64). As the face of education continues to change, so will laws that define its’ funding.
One very heated topic of discussion currently is the use of vouchers to pay for private education at the K-12 level. A voucher is basically a scholarship for low income eligible students. The money for the vouchers comes from companies that use the program as a tax credit. Basically the business will make a voucher donation for a specified amount and then claim that amount on their taxes. The state then refunds the company the amount that...