Cleveland's voucher plan is constitutional, Supreme Court says in 5-4 decision
The Ohio Pilot Scholarship Program, which provides state-funded scholarships for students to attend private schools, "is a program of true private choice" since it allows parents to choose between religious and nonreligious schools, the Supreme Court ruled this morning. "It is neutral in all respects towards religion … The only preference in the program is for low-income families," wrote Chief Justice Rehnquist for the majority. "Any objective observer familiar with the full history and context of the Ohio program would reasonably view it as one aspect of a broader undertaking to assist poor children in failed schools, not as an endorsement of religious schooling in general." (The Freedom Forum offers good background on the case with a timeline. Cleveland's WKYC has video for those who don't like to read.)
"This was the Super Bowl for school choice and the kids won," said Clint Bolick, vice president of the Institute for Justice, which represented provoucher parents in the case. … This is the day of sunshine we've battled for over the past 10 years. The constitutional cloud over school choice is finally lifted."
Both sides of the argument agreed that this decision would be of monumental importance, and called it the biggest education case since Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled segregation illegal. It will likely throw open the doors for educational voucher programs across the country, perhaps even federally (President Bush has supported vouchers, but his plans to include them in an education reform package were thwarted last year).
"The Supreme Court has given parents nationwide the hope that they, too, will soon have the power to rescue their ...1
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