Arizona School Choice Fight Goes to U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court is poised
to decide the constitutionality of a school choice program currently helping more than
27,000 students get a good education. Unless the court upholds the program, these children could be forced to leave schools
providing them a quality education and be sent to failing public schools. Arizona, like many states, offers tax credits
to individuals and businesses for donations to fund scholarships for students to attend
private schools. The goal of these programs is to give as many
students as possible the resources they need to get a good education. Last year 73,000
Arizonans donated 50 million dollars to fund scholarships that help families
escape chronically underperforming public schools, families like the Denards who have five
children and live in an economically struggling area. -We are Glenn and Rhonda Denard, pastors for the
local church in the south Phoenix area and we started to have a family, you know have children when we did that the quality of education became a major issue. The public schools in south Phoenix
are inadequate. Arizona scholarship program gave our family an opportunity,
it gave us a choice. They gave us the opportunity to choose the
school we wanted in our neighborhood. The ACLU is challenging Arizona’s tax credit
program in court because most taxpayers have freely chosen to donate to religiously affiliated
scholarship organizations. Even after the program was upheld by the Arizona
Supreme Court and a federal trial court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck
it down.
-The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that school choice programs
based on private choice for individuals, rather than government, decide
where scholarships are used are perfectly constitutional and private choice is the defining
characteristic of Arizona’s tax credit program. Private individuals choose to set up scholarship
organizations, private individuals freely decide which scholarship organizations to donate to, and parents make the choice where to enroll
their children. But the ACLU is trying to use the courts to
end this program, a program that is changing lives for the
better. Tax credit scholarship programs like Arizona’s are not only constitutional – they work. They increased funding for public education,
improve parental satisfaction, they increase opportunities for parents to
find schools that best meet their children’s Needs. -Please don’t cut this program out. It has benefited my family. My children have a great education.
They’re going on. I have 2 in college now; I have another one who will go on to college next
year. I just think it’s a great opportunity. As state legislatures worked to enact meaningful
education reform it is critically important that the United States Supreme Court send a clear message: that the law of the land permits educational options based on free individual choice. This case is scheduled to be argued before
the U.S. Supreme Court on November 3, 2010. A decision is expected the
following spring.

25 Responses

  1. rightwinginTX says:

    ACLU wastes the air they breathe

  2. Robert Frommer says:

    @singlaprety12 Why does it matter? If IJ wins it will help children of all races and ethnicities.

  3. Slipknotyk06 says:

    This is an important precedent. I am very interested to see how this goes. This is simply about first Amendment freedom of Religion. This is vastly important! I think that the ACLU is on the side of Teachers Unions that see this program as a threat.

  4. mrbill66 says:

    If it was an Islamic academy the ACLU would be all in favor of it and have the backing of every Leftist in the country.

  5. Richard Duryea says:

    Is it possible to attack the ACLU for being unconstitutional?

  6. Jerricho68 says:

    The ninth circus strikes again.

  7. Ribbett_bich says:

    @singlaprety12 – I think it was just bad editing.

  8. crammitol12 says:

    mindapi and singlaprety12, there are poor kids of many stripes in the greater phoenix area. This vid is about families, this one as example, that chose to take their tax credits to a non public, usually religious school rather than the one their kids would have been attending in their own area. I imagine, the ACLU takes exception to this as a violation of the separation of Church and State. I see it as parents trying to improve the lot of their children's lives. This will be a crucial decision!

  9. crammitol12 says:

    @mindapi , I see. My bad for that. BTW, if you're not familiar with any of the schools in Phoenix, Brophy Prep is an all boys,private, Jesuit Catholic school widely regarded as producing articulate, university bound youths. I'd say the parents made a good choice for their kids in this case. It sucks that any group that can't see this is about the betterment of the individual is short sighted to say the least. Especially a group like the ACLU that professes to protect the rights of the individual

  10. Michelle Brooks says:

    questions::: what about the students left in the district? is the tax credit in any way lessening $ from district budgets?

  11. Alma Kesling says:

    How this increases funding for "public" education is beyond me, and would have to be shown. My tax dollars should be given to public schools NOT religious schools I have no affiliation with.

  12. Ender Atreides says:


    maybe.. and maybe you shouldn't eat so much or maybe someone should be telling you what to eat to make SURE you eat the RIGHT things.

    For a black family in a bad area it looks like they did pretty damn well for themselves but i would hazard to guess that if they had gone to local public schools they wouldn't have turned out the same.

    I don't know where you live but i'm near Detroit where the graduation rate is around 24.9%. The US needs this, its school of choice not of religion.

  13. Ender Atreides says:


    I don't know where you live but i'm near Detroit where the graduation rate is around 24.9%. The US needs this, our schools are getting really bad and any one looking at the statistics of how school of choice, in various forms, preforms knows this is the kind of improvement we need.

    I hear you on the religious concerns but who says they have to be religious schools? Make your own or i'm sure someone will. Main point being is it gives more freedom to people to choice where to learn.

  14. Trenaway ElDaryl says:

    Notice the race in these schools. Mostly black and liberals like the aclu can not have this. Blacks getting a good education is not tolerable in the mind of a liberal. If you disagree with this, your a liberal and a racist bastard. I ask you to leave my country, so black people can get a good education!

  15. Ashley Johnston says:

    I don't understand the motivation for fighting such a program, or the legal argument to make to strike it down. That would have been helpful.

  16. residentfan2 says:

    It sounds like a great program on the surface, but I'd like to hear all arguments about this.

  17. residentfan2 says:

    @croissantanyone this doesn't sound like a voucher program, but a tax credited scholarship program. But, as I said before, this video doesn't show all arguments. So we're not left with all the information.

  18. residentfan2 says:

    @singlaprety12 possibly to strengthen this organizations argument. However, if this is helping the black community, I think that's a good thing. But the video leaves a lot of argumentative holes in it that makes me want to hear all sides of this issue.

  19. residentfan2 says:

    @mrbill66 why are you using a bigoted argument to make a point?

  20. Barbara Raffaelli says:

    The Democrats in Oh tried to stop charter schools but they failed. They were backed by politicians that are backed by the teacher's union!

  21. alienshore7 says:

    The really funny thing about these programs is that if the govt would end public education altogether then everyone would have "tax credits" (i.e. would be allowed to keep more of their money instead of having it stolen by the govt) that could be used to either pay for private school and/or help fund scholarships for those kids who can't. Then all children could have a good education instead of attending a govt brainwashing camp. It's so simple.

  22. kfrb1 says:

    9th circuit court of appeals is always the thorn in the side of all sanity

  23. mpc91 says:

    Wouldn't it be something if the American Civil Liberties Union actually worked for the Civil Rights of Americans?

    Instead, they work to limit the freedoms of Americans while pushing their social agenda and padding the pockets of lawyers,

  24. Gary Livesey says:

    Never mentioned the separation clause. hmmmmm. i do wonder how this hasn't affected religious private college education. BTW, the ACLU has no enforcement power, they are merely making a peaceful court challenge, not a violent demonstration. Seems that should be pointed out, this isn't a war, it's an argument that will be settled in the court. Oh and the constitution can be ammended.

  25. Pat Neary says:

    pretty sure your side likes that public schools are failing because it opens the door for private schools founded by backward ideas about the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Despite the mountains of evidence, theese schools can refuse to acknowledge based on a "belief" and a made up fear of eternal punishment for actually learning.

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