Religious Charter Schools:
Legalities and Practicalities

Dr. Weinberg's book, Religious Charter Schools: Legalities and PracticalitiesMost authors, academics, and theoreticians when examining religious charter schools have only examined such charter schools from a single viewpoint. They start by assuming that a religious charter school is a denominational school, i.e. a denominationally Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or Evangelical school. Then depending on what side of the political spectrum, these individuals argue that religious charter schools are constitutional or unconstitutional.

In the book Religious Charter Schools: Legalities and Practicalities, Dr. Lawrence D. Weinberg takes the position that a religious charter school can take any number of forms and that some forms would be permitted by state law and the federal constitution and other forms would be prohibited.

In fact many of these schools are not "religious," but rather are motivated by religious reasons or merely accommodate the faith of religious adherents. It is wrong to argue that religious charter schools are permitted or unconstitutional because the question is not that simple. The question is whether each charter school in its particulars is constitutional, is legal under state law.

However, three general principles summarize the current legal situation for religious charter schools:

  1. Charter schools may accommodate students’ and parents’ religious beliefs;
  2. Charter schools may not endorse any religion, religion generally, or non-religion; and
  3. Charter schools may endorse a culture.

It is because the law is not black and white that religious charter schools with various missions that relate to religion and culture have formed and will continue to form.

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Interviews and Quotations in the Media

  • Interviewed by Esmeralda Bermudez of the Los Angeles Times, regarding religious charter schools, August 2008
  • Talk at the White House Summit profiled by Enid Weiss of The Jewish State, May 2008
  • Speech to the White House Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools discussed in the National Review.
  • Interviewed by Nathaniel Popper of Wall Street Journal, regarding religious charter schools, August 2007. Quoted in "Chartering a New Course,"¬†The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2007, Page W11.
  • Interviewed by Andrew Trotter of Education Week, regarding religious charter schools, August 2007

Blogs that Discuss Dr. Weinberg's Book