Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, thanks a lot for your question and the interest you show in having a clearer view of the true teachings of Islam. May Allah help you get the right understanding and stand firm on the Straight Path. Amen.
In response to your question, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor, states:
“Distribution of Zakah for the purpose of educating Muslim children from poor families may be permissible under certain circumstances. Take the example of Muslim children from poor families in the US. We used to say that Zakah could be paid for the education of Muslim children on the ground that most Muslim families, either poor or middle class, could not afford to pay for private education of their children and facilities for their Islamic teaching were not available.
In other words, Zakah was paid on the basis of preserving the religion of these Muslim children as part of the category fi sabili Allah or “in the Cause of Allah”.
But over the last quarter of a century this situation has changed. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the Muslim communities in the US are able to build mosques and schools, and most families can afford to pay for the Islamic and other education of their children. There are also several other means for upbringing children in an Islamic way throughout the Muslim communities in the US so that payments for tuition of poor Muslim children or for establishing Islamic schools goes out of the category of "in the Cause of Allah".
This category is essentially for the defense of religion, of people, and of the Muslim land, and it was only carried to Muslim schools and tuitions of poor Muslim children only by extension and by stretching the meaning of this defense to be maintaining the religion of these children.
Maintenance of the religion of these children is essentially the responsibility of parents, and there are now abilities and facilities to do so, so that the extension of the meaning of fi sabili Allah is no longer applicable.
In spite of that, there may be still exceptional cases where the maintenance of the religion of these poor Muslim children can only be achieved through a Muslim school and there is no other facility to do so. In such exceptional cases, Zakah may be paid for poor Muslim children’s education. Otherwise, the objective of Zakah must be maintained within the principal meaning and limit of the eight categories, especially the first one the poor and the needy as mentioned in the Qur'an.”