12/1998 Parental Freedom in the States and Nation

Published December 1, 1998


. . . Only days after he was endorsed by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) for this year’s gubernatorial race, Secretary of State George Ryan (R) announced his support for tuition tax credits. Specifically, Ryan said he would back a legislative proposal that would give a $500 tax credit to families who send their children to nonpublic schools. George King, a spokesman for the IEA, said the union would not withdraw its support for Ryan, even though the union does not agree on this issue, because they believe that “he will put public schools first.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 09/30/98) [Editor – Ryan won]


TEACH Michigan has released its Michigan Learning parent guide in order to help Michigan parents be better education consumers. Every other month this subscription guide will provide a forum for discussion and information reports designed to help Michigan parents make the best use of their options. For more information contact TEACH at 517-394-4870.


The Ohio State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case against the Cleveland Scholarship Program. (The program was first ruled constitutional in July 1996 by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Lisa Sadler, but that decision was overturned by the Ohio Court of Appeals in May 1997 by a 3-0 vote.) Each side in the oral arguments in September was allowed 25 minutes of argumentation, and the defense divided that time among three attorneys from the Institute for Justice. After 50 minutes, the justices questioned both sides intensely, focusing about half of their questions on two procedural provisions of the Ohio constitution. The first was the constitution’s “uniformity” clause, and the second was the program’s enactment as part of the biennial budget bill. For additional questions about the case, call the Institute for Justice at 202-955-1300.

National News

Head Start

US Rep. Bill Goodling, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Workforce, successfully removed Rep. Frank Riggs’ voucher amendment from the bill that renews the nation’s Head Start program for five more years. Riggs’ amendment was regarded as a controversial provision that was holding up an otherwise routine piece of legislation. House Democrats had said they would block the bill from reaching the House floor unless Riggs’ amendment was removed. With the amendment gone, the House passed the bill on a vote of 346-20 with little debate. (Atlanta Constitution, 09/15/98; Washington Post, 09/14/98)

Blaine Amendment

The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy published an article in its Summer 1998 edition (Vol. 21, No. 3) by Dr. Joseph Viteritti of New York University entitled “Blaine’s Wake: School Choice, the First Amendment, and State Constitutional Law.” Dr. Viteritti discusses the influence of the Blaine Amendment, its effect on litigation in state courts, and its relationship to school choice in general.

Teacher Unions

Two recent articles examine the recently failed merger attempts between the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT):

  • “United They Fall? Merger of Teacher Unions Could Backfire, Providing New Hope for Change,” by Charlene K. Haar, published in Organization Trends, July 1998, was written before the failure of the merger and provides a careful analysis of the proposal’s political impact.

Excerpted with permission from The Freedom Report (#64, October 16, 1998), Blum Center for Parental Freedom in Education, Marquette University, Brooks Hall 209, PO Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881, phone 414/288-7040, fax 414/288-3170, email [email protected], Quentin L. Quade, Director. The full Freedom Report, done in cooperation with the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation, is available from the Blum Center, or at http://www.mu.edu/blum.