Supporting Public Education

Schools and Learning

Supporting Public
Education &
Working To Ensure
Public Schools
Welcome All Students

Public funds should go to public schools, which serve 90% of America’s children and are open to all. AU works to ensure public schools remain inclusive and do not promote religion or compel anyone to take part in religious activities.

Public education is a cornerstone of American life; it’s essential to our success as a nation. Millions of parents and their children rely on it. That’s why public funds must go to public schools and not be diverted to private school vouchers, which pay for the education of students in private and religious schools.

In our diverse nation, public schools must also treat all students equally. When public schools sponsor devotional practices or introduce religion into science classes they exclude students of minority faiths and the non-religious.

The most important issues we're facing


What You Should Know

Public School Funding Is Threatened

Lawmakers, supported by private school voucher advocates, seek to siphon already-scarce tax funds into private schools through voucher plans -- and more than 70% of private schools are religious. Vouchers force taxpayers to support unaccountable private schools that often discriminate in hiring staff and admitting students.

Creationism: NOT in Science Class!

Aggressive Christian nationalist groups seek to infuse public schools with fundamentalist doctrine. They’ve worked for decades to replace sound science with “creationism” – instruction based on biblical literalism. Despite court rulings striking down creationism, several states have repeatedly tried to sneak religious concepts into public school science classes.

Public Education Is Under Assault

Project Blitz and similar groups are part of a coordinated attempt by religious extremists to enshrine Christian nationalism in our public schools by influencing class lessons, encouraging school-sponsored prayer, and installing religious displays.

Milestones

  • March 2021

    The Bremerton School District protected its students’ religious freedom when it stopped a high school football coach from leading students in prayer. The coach sued. AU will argue the case before the Supreme Court.

    Read more about the Bremerton case

  • Jan. 20, 2021

    President Joe Biden issued an executive order disbanding a so-called “1776 Commission” formed in the fall of 2020 by President Donald Trump. This commission opposed the study of systemic racism and encouraged false claims that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” in public school history classes. Americans United believes our schools must teach history accurately — even when that means facing uncomfortable truths.

    Learn about the true origins of religious freedom in America.

  • January 2021

    Americans United led the National Coalition for Public Education’s efforts to release a toolkit to help legislators and advocates oppose attempts to create or expand vouchers in the states. We shared the toolkit with legislators and advocates in more than 20 states.

    You can read the toolkit here.

  • July 2020

    Americans United issued a report detailing how the Trump administration misused taxpayer funds under the Paycheck Protection Program – money that was supposed to help workers at small businesses who were at risk of losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic – to funnel billions into the coffers of private, mostly religious schools.

    Read the full report here

  • June 30, 2020

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana, requiring states to allow religious schools to receive private school vouchers if they have voucher programs. Americans United filed amicus briefs in the U.S. and Montana supreme courts. The decision spurred more than a dozen state legislatures to consider bills that would divert public money to private religious schools and AU fought back with its allies across the country.

    Read more about AU’s reaction

  • January 2019

    In a victory for students and families whose religious freedom had been violated, AU reached a settlement with Bossier Parish Public Schools in Louisiana to end religious coercion by public school administrators, teachers and coaches. Multiple religious freedom violations included school events being held at churches or involving prayers as part of the official program; extensive promotion of religion within school athletic programs; teachers proselytizing in classrooms; and religious displays in classrooms and offices.

    Read about the settlement in Louisiana

  • December 20, 2005

    Americans United and allied groups won a powerful ruling from a federal court stopping instruction about “intelligent design” creationism in a Dover, Pa., public school. Americans United has continued to support sound science education in public schools and fought attempts by state legislatures and state boards of education to include creationism in science curriculum.

    Read about the landmark case in Dover, Pa

Most Recent Efforts

Protect the Rights of All Students in America’s Public Schools

Unite in the fight for religious freedom. Make a gift to AU today.

Donate

End private school vouchers

Tell your state legislator to keep public dollars in public schools

Use our online tool to send your state legislators an urgent message demanding they shut down private school voucher programs—or not ever start one up—and send your tax dollars to our public schools.

CONTACT YOUR LAWMAKER