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At issue in Grand Rapids School District v. Ball (1985) was the constitutionality of two educational programs of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, School District that served the students of nonpublic schools, most of them religiously affiliated. The U.S. Supreme Court in Ball found that the programs were an impermissible mixture of state and religion, but in subsequent cases, it drew back from this position and revised the criteria for judging Establishment Clause cases.

Facts of the Case

The first program, the Shared Time program, offered classes during the school day that supplemented the core curriculum at nonpublic schools and included remedial and enrichment subjects. The Shared Time teachers were full-time employees of the public schools. The public school board provided supplies, instructional materials, and equipment. The second ...

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