Agostini v. Felton
Charles J. Russo
Agostini v. Felton stands out as one of the U.S. Supreme Court's major rulings on the parameters of permissible state aid to religiously affiliated nonpublic schools and their students under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for two reasons. First, the Court lifted the ban that it had imposed against the on-site delivery of Title I services to children from disadvantaged families who attended religiously affiliated nonpublic schools, thereby making its programs available to a wide range of students, many of whom had not been served. Second, the Court modified the tripartite test that it enunciated in Lemon v. Kurtzman by reviewing only its first two parts, purpose and effect, while treating entanglement as one element in evaluating a law's effect. Title I, enacted in 1965 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, was designed to provide equal educational opportunities by offering remedial instruction for children whose ...