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Arizona’s parent ‘savings account’ program survives legal challenge

Jun 13, 2013 by

PHOENIX – Arizona’s version of a private school voucher program has survived a crucial legal test.

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently denied a request to shoot down the state’s “education savings account” program, according to

As the news report puts it, the program “allows parents to use state funds that would have been spent on their children in traditional public schools to tailor an education experience that meets their child’s unique needs, including private school tuition, home-schooling expenses or education therapy.”

The program was originally passed in 2011 to benefit special needs students, but has since been expanded to benefit children of active military personnel, children adopted through the state’s foster children program, and students stuck in persistently failing public schools.

Roughly 200,000 families are eligible for education savings accounts, according to the news report.

The public education establishment, led by the Arizona Education Association and the Arizona School Boards Association, filed a lawsuit to challenge the program in 2011. They claimed it violates a provision of the state constitution that prevents public money from being used for tuition at private or religious schools.

Last year a superior court judge ruled against the plaintiffs, because the state is simply giving money to parents, who then make the decision of how to invest it. The appeals court obviously agreed with that summation.

Perhaps the appeals court judges realized that the teachers union and school board association are less concerned about defending the state constitution than they are about keeping students trapped in traditional public schools. The more students who are forced to stay, the more money the schools keep.

State education policy should and must be designed in the best interests of children. And it’s best for kids to give their parents the freedom to shop around and identify the school that best fits their needs.

An appeal of the court decision is expected, and the case may end up before the state supreme court, according to the news report.

Arizona’s parent ‘savings account’ program survives legal challenge – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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