Educational Choice

  • March 9, 2021    |    Scholarly Articles

    In this article, Michael Bindas discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department for Revenue, in which the Court held that states cannot bar families participating in educational choice programs from choosing religious schools for their children. The article focuses not only on what the Court decided in Espinoza, but also on…

  • February 22, 2021    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents with financial aid to help their children opt out of the traditional public school system—are a hallmark of meaningful educational reform. Yet despite widespread news coverage of such programs, polls show most Americans are unfamiliar with how educational choice programs work. Opponents of educational choice routinely…

  • July 6, 2020    |    Strategic Research

    Over the course of the last few decades, the law has gradually changed to recognize the constitutionality of educational choice programs and that its beneficiaries are students, not schools. The most recent development is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the United States Supreme Court declared that the Constitution forbids states from excluding…

  • September 7, 2017    |    Scholarly Articles

    In this article, Nat Malkus and Tim Keller outline the federal laws that protect students with disabilities, give an overview of school choice programs, and explain how participating in school choice programs affects the rights of students with disabilities. They summarize arguments against students with disabilities participating in school choice programs and offer counterarguments and…

  • August 23, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents financial aid to opt their children out of the traditional public school system—have been a topic of significant public discussion and debate in recent months. Despite the increasing news coverage, however, polls show that most Americans are unfamiliar with educational choice programs. Opponents of educational choice…

  • March 16, 2016    |    Strategic Research

    On Common Constitutional Ground

    How Georgia’s Scholarship Tax Credits Mirror Other State Programs and Expand Educational Opportunity

    Launched in 2008, Georgia’s scholarship tax credit program will help over 13,000 children get the best education for their needs at secular and religious private schools this year. But in 2014 school choice opponents sued to end the program, calling it unconstitutional. This report finds, however, that the scholarship tax credit is just one of…

  • February 1, 2014    |    Strategic Research

    Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

    Tax Credits and Educational Access in Alabama

    Alabama’s scholarship tax credit programs follow in the footsteps of at least six similar tax credits dating to the 1970s that give students a choice of public, private or religious schools, demonstrating that scholarship tax credits are constitutional.

  • December 1, 2011    |    Strategic Research

    Expanding Choice

    Tax Credits and Educational Access in Idaho

    Scholarship tax credits would expand educational opportunities for Idaho families, building on long-standing state policies encouraging private investments in education, as well as successful school choice programs in other states.

  • December 1, 2011    |    Strategic Research

    Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

    Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program Extends Long History of Choice-Based Aid

    Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program empowers thousands of families to choose the best K-12 schools for their children—public, private or religious—just like state-funded college scholarship programs have done for decades.

  • June 1, 2010    |    Strategic Research

    Special Needs Vouchers Aid Children and Promote Excellence

    A Response to “Beyond Cain v. Horne”

    In the previous article, Dr. Corinne Harmon responds to my analysis of the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision in Cain v. Horne (Keller, 2009) that struck down two voucher programs for students with special needs—one for children with disabilities and the other for children in foster care. Harmon believes my constitutional analysis is in error because…

  • March 6, 2010    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Bulletproofing School Choice

    How to Write Sound & Constitutional Legislation to Expand Educational Opportunity

    This paper brings together the hard-won lessons of IJ’s experiences to help advocates and lawmakers craft effective school choice legislation likely to withstand a legal challenge.

  • March 6, 2010    |    Scholarly Articles

    The Florida Supreme Court vs. School Choice

    A "Uniformly" Horrid Decision

    School choice is the civil rights issue of the twenty-first century. In the Information Age, knowledge is not just power—it is destiny. As a result, no issue more fundamentally divides the “haves” and the “have-nots” in America than who gets to choose what schools their children attend and who does not. Around the country, hundreds…

  • December 14, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    In 2009, the Journal of School Choice presented a special issue on school choice and the law, guest edited by Institute for Justice Director of Strategic Research Dick Carpenter. In this introduction, Carpenter explains that much of the legal battleground over the constitutionality of school choice programs has shifted to interpretations of state constitutions, and…

  • December 14, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    This commentary addresses the Arizona Supreme Court’s legal reasoning in Cain v. Horne, which struck down two voucher programs for special needs children pursuant to one of Arizona’s Blaine Amendments and explains that the court both failed to apply a straightforward textual analysis and ignored the analytical framework its prior precedents had properly established. The…

  • December 14, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman v. SimmonsHarris, only state religion clauses represent a potential constitutional bar to the inclusion of religious options in properly designed school choice programs. The two most significant are compelled support clauses and Blaine Amendments. Both are frequently misinterpreted by state courts as applied to school choice when…

  • March 1, 2009    |    Strategic Research

    Expanding Choice

    Tax credits and Educational access in Montana

    School choice enjoys strong support among Montana residents, and of choice options, tax credits enjoy the greatest level of popularity. Such programs grant tax credits to taxpayers who donate to nonprofit organizations that give scholarships to students. These scholarships may then be used at both public and private (including religious) schools thereby putting previously unaffordable…

  • February 1, 2009    |    Strategic Research

    Expanding Choice

    Tax Credits and Educational Access in Indiana

    One of the oldest and more popular forms of school choice in the United States is educational tax credit. Like many other types of school choice, educational tax credits enable parents to send their children to the K-12 school of their choice, public or private, religious or non-religious. One type of educational tax credit, tax-credit…

  • February 1, 2009    |    Strategic Research

    Choice and Opportunity

    The Past and Future of Choice-Based Aid in Louisiana

    On February 29, 2008, Gov. Bobby Jindal presented the Louisiana Legislature with a proposed budget allocating $10 million for a school choice initiative that would enable parents in New Orleans to send their children to the school of their choice, including private schools, with state-funded scholarships. According to Gov. Jindal, “We want to make sure…

  • November 1, 2007    |    Strategic Research

    Fatally Flawed

    A Critique of Fixing the Milwaukee Public Schools: The Limits of Parent-Driven Reform

    In October 2007, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute released a research report on public school choice and parental involvement, Fixing the Milwaukee Public School: The Limits of Parent-Driven Reform. Unfortunately, as this analysis finds, the WPRI report is fatally flawed, undermining both its claims about public school choice and any implications for private school choice…

  • March 1, 2007    |    Strategic Research

    Private Choice In Public Programs

    How Private Institutions Secure Social Services for Georgians

    Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship Program extends to a new group of students the same kind of educational choice already enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Georgia citizens from prekindergarten through college. Prior to the adoption of the special needs scholarship, Georgia already offered no less than 11 scholarship, grant or voucher programs related to the…

  • January 1, 2007    |    Strategic Research

    Private Choice In Public Programs

    How Private Institutions Secure Social Services for Arizonans

    Voucher programs that give recipients the free and independent choice of an array of providers, including faith-based organizations, have a long and established history in Arizona, including six different educational voucher programs that help more than 22,000 students annually attend the public, private or religious school of their choice.

  • October 1, 2006    |    Strategic Research

    Arizona’s tax code, like that of many state, national and international governments, includes a series of tax credits individuals and corporations may use to offset taxes owed. Arizona’s individual and corporate scholarship tax credit programs are only two of dozens of Arizona credits that encourage private spending to support public goals—including charitable donations to private,…

  • October 1, 2006    |    Strategic Research

    This report updates a 2005 analysis by Arizona’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) that looked at the fiscal impact of a proposed corporate tuition tax-credit scholarship program and reflects the program as actually passed in 2006. Updated figures indicate that the program could save the state of Arizona’s General Fund an estimated $57.2 million over…

  • April 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Education has always been an issue of central concern for the people of North Carolina. Even before statehood, the area’s colonists made concerted efforts to secure the blessings of education for their children. In 1776, the authors of North Carolina’s first Constitution required the Legislature to provide publicly funded schools to encourage education in the…

  • August 21, 2003    |    Scholarly Articles

    The Past Should Not Shackle the Present

    The Revival of a Legacy of Religious Bigotry by Opponents of School Choice

    In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court ruled that school voucher programs in which parents choose which schools, including religiously affiliated schools, their children attend do not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The consequences of Zelman were dramatic: First, the hundreds of children enrolled in Cleveland’s school choice program were spared a return to…

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