The new amendment's language was so restrictive that the Michigan Supreme Court had to determine not only whether it prohibited direct state aid to private schools, but also whether it prohibited indirect aid in the form of educational services financed by the state and federal governments.
In the 1971 Traverse City School District v. Attorney General decision, the Court interpreted the amendment as outlawing direct aid but not taxpayer-funding of indirect and auxiliary services such as transportation and testing. The Court also ruled that parts of the amendment went too far in the attempt to separate tax dollars from private education, and that they contravened the U. S. Constitution's guarantee of free exercise of religion.55
However, Michigan's 1970 anti-school choice amendment, still in force today, remains one of the most restrictive of any state constitution. In the attempt to limit state support to religious schools, advocates of the amendment effectively foreclosed the opportunity for private school choice programs that were religion-neutral and consistent with federal and original state constitutional requirements. Michigan residents have lived with the result for over a quarter-century.
But the passing of almost three decades has brought about a dramatic shift in public opinion. Private schools in Michigan are attracting more students, choice among government schools has expanded, and support for even greater parental choice in education is growing rapidly. Under the current climate of opinion, it is not clear that 1970's Proposal C would pass today.