Constitutional Law-Church and State-Shared Time: Indirect Aid to Parochial Schools

For over forty years, public schools have been participating in shared time programs pursuant to which non-public school children attend public schools for instruction in one or more subjects during the regular school day. Since ninety per cent of the pupils in nonpublic elementary and secondary schools are in Roman Catholic schools, shared time-or, as it is also known, dual enrollment raises questions of an establishment of religion in contravention of the provisions of the first amendment to the Constitution. To date, no court has faced this constitutional issue and only three state courts have ruled upon the validity of shared time under state constitutions and statutes. Nevertheless, such questions are significant and are becoming increasingly so. A National Education Association survey in 1964 revealed that 280 school systems in 35 states were operating shared time programs; that the use of such programs has grown considerably in recent years is indicated by the twenty-five per cent increase in the use of shared time programs during the two years immediately preceding the survey. Furthermore, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 specifically suggests dual enrollment programs as a means by which local educational agencies can obtain federal assistance for non-public school children.