Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Gerald C. Kops

Number of Pages



In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson stated the need for a "wall of separation between Church & State." The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment maintained that metaphoric wall of separation; however, the magnitude of separation has varied over the course of time. The Supreme Court's holding in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) ushers in a new era of Establishment Clause interpretation; In Zelman, the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program faced an Establishment Clause challenge. An analysis of the Cleveland program illustrated that in the 1999--2000 school year, 82% of the participating private schools were religious in nature, and that none of the adjacent public schools offered to participate in the program. Therefore, 96% of the students participating in the voucher program were enrolled in religiously affiliated schools; The issues before the Court in Zelman consisted of an Establishment Clause challenge, and an examination of the choice and neutrality concepts. The Court examined past legal precedent to decide if the Cleveland program violated the Establishment Clause by providing state imprimatur of religious indoctrination. On June 27, 2002, the Court held that the Cleveland program did not violate the Establishment Clause; This purpose of this study was to analyze how the U.S. Supreme Court resolved the key issues in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) case. The study also examined the areas of the decision that remained unanswered or vague. Furthermore, it examined the implications this holding portends for public education; this study also evaluated the Cleveland program as well as addressed the need for future policy issues in public education; The following research questions were addressed in order to accomplish these analyses: (1) What were the major arguments that influenced the United States Supreme Court's decision in the Zelman case? (2) What areas of this decision remain unclear? (3) What issues have emerged from this decision? (4) What outstanding legal issues remain regarding voucher programs? (5) What implications does this decision have for public education? Because this study constituted legal research, the writing style contained in this dissertation was a combination of APA and the Harvard Blue Book.


Amendment; Analysis; Establishment Clause; First; First Amendment Jurisprudence; Harris; Jurisprudence; Program; Schools; Simmons; Voucher; Zelman; Zelman v. Simmons-Harris

Controlled Subject

School management and organization; Law

File Format


File Size

5201.92 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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