In America's culture wars denominations increasingly ally with one another despite differences in theology, church organization, and membership. But these developments are not reflected in America's private K-12 school system or in patterns of public aid for children who attend them where divisions between religious traditions remain stark. I demonstrate, by means of an analysis of critical junctures in American political development supported by statistical analysis, that Catholics who desire a religious education for their children have historically tended to exit for the parochial sector while Evangelicals having similar desires lobbied for reform of the public school system. These differential group responses stem from differing conceptions of identity and belonging, theological understanding, and institutional structure. In American education policy, differences between religious groups are surprisingly tenacious.