Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Steve Permuth, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Alisha Braun, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brett Geier, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Judith Ponticell, Ph.D.


Blaine Amendment, caselaw, parochial, religion, socio-political, funding


First introduced in 1875, Blaine Amendments restrict private, parochial schools from utilizing publicly acquired funds. While the federally proposed Blaine Amendment died on the Senate floor, 37 states have adopted constitutional language that limits and/or bars religious schools from receiving public funds. Fraught with bigotry and labeled as discriminatory, such measures have not gone without challenge and the judicial system has delivered numerous decisions on funding public and private schools. However, jurisprudence reveals significant shifts in court decisions over time. Through analysis of Supreme Court cases from Everson v. Board of Education (1947) to Espinoza v. Montana (2020), this work sought to explain the historical relevance of Blaine Amendments, explore prominent caselaw specific to publicly funding parochial schools, identify socio-political factors associated with changes in judicial ideology since the late 19th century, and indicate potential consequences of eliminating Blaine Amendments.