The US Supreme Court put off the day of reckoning for the toughest issue in American education yesterday, when it let stand a Wisconsin ruling allowing public money to fund vouchers to private schools.
The decision means that low-income parents in Milwaukee can continue to choose between sending their children to public or private schools, including parochial schools, with tax-funded vouchers. It is expected to encourage others across the US to enact similar programs - and open a floodgate of new court challenges.
"The opposition in Wisconsin is now left to guerrilla warfare - they've lost the battle in the legislature and the courts," says Clint Bolick of the Washington-based Institute for Justice, the leading defender of school-choice programs.
This decision "opens a crack in the wall of separation between church and state," says Joseph Conn, a spokesman for the Washington-based public interest group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.