Upholding School Choice

Posted on June 06, 2005
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The Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments tomorrow on a lawsuit brought against the Florida school voucher program. Florida's program, the only one of its kind in the country, helped some 700 students this year, most of whom were poor and trapped in failing public schools.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that vouchers are constitutional, teachers' unions are taking the legal fight to the states, many of which including Arizona still have 19th century anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments that forbid public funding of religious institutions.

As Goldwater Institute senior fellow Clint Bolick wrote in a policy brief last year, "the Arizona Supreme Court has repudiated a broad interpretation of [Arizona's anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment] that would foreclose educational options to children who need them. In Kotterman v. Killian, the court upheld scholarship tax credits against challenges under both the First Amendment and the state constitution."

That ruling has not stopped school choice opponents from heading to federal court to challenge Arizona's tuition scholarship tax credit program, which allows individuals to receive tax credits for contributions of up to $500 to private school scholarship programs. In March, the federal district court judge dismissed the challenge as frivolous.

With any luck, the Florida Supreme Court will soon join the Arizona Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the constitutionality of school choice, and help put parents in charge of their children's educations.

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