I posted at 10 AM EST today about an article in the Hechinger Report, written at its request by scholars Bruce Baker and Preston Green, each of whom is an expert in his field (school finance, constitutional law and education). A reader identified with the pro-voucher Reason Institute complained that an earlier Supreme Court decision forbade private schools from practicing racial discrimination, and an editor inserted a note saying so, as if to correct Baker and Green.

Baker and Green objected that the reader was wrong. The Supreme Court case he cited—Runyon v. McCrary-did not expressly forbid racial discrimination by religious schools if based on religious grounds.

The editor at the Hechinger Report read the case in question and removed the erroneous insertion, appending this clarification at the end of the article.

*Clarification: After publication of this article, a reader noted that the Supreme Court ruling Runyon v. McCrary (1976) forbids discrimination by race in private schools. We added a parenthetical editor’s note saying that current federal law does not permit private schools to discriminate on the basis of race. This note was overly broad. The authors explained that Runyon does not expressly address sectarian schools, a subset of private schools. Indeed, the Court specifies that its ruling offers no opportunity to address “private sectarian schools that practice Racial Exclusion on religious grounds.” Although it is unlikely that parochial schools would engage in racial discrimination, Runyon does not specifically address that possibility. This clarification should have been obtained from the authors before the editor’s note was appended.

I am glad the editor made this change. I’m glad she read the case and consulted with the authors. But I’m not in agreement with her expectation that religious schools would be “unlikely” to engage in racial discrimination. It is generally acknowledged that choice policies intensify segregation of all kinds: religious, racial, and socioeconomic (although Reason and CATO and other pro-vouchers advocates don’t agree with the scholarly consensus). Among the more extreme of evangelical schools that are currently funded by states, according to a survey by Rebecca Klein of the Huffington Post, a number openly teach racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as lies about science and history.