On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities are constitutional, saying taxpayer money is not used to provide aid to religious schools since the scholarships are funded via an education savings account. The court ruled that parents select the school with no direction or intervention from the state, thus the state is not advocating any religion.
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“The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling, declaring education savings accounts constitutional, is a great victory for students with special needs. It upholds parents’ rights to fully direct the education of their own children. This ruling provides the legislature the roadmap to extend this same education freedom to all students in Oklahoma.”
“In upholding the constitutionality of a ‘niche’ scholarship program for disabled children, which allows them to use government-funded vouchers in K–12 sectarian and non-sectarian private schools, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has effectively given the green light to a more general program of state-funded school choice.
“The Oklahoma State Legislature should now take up this challenge and give more parents the right to choose how their children are educated in the state’s schools.”
“This ruling is great news for Oklahoma children. The Henry Scholarships program is one of the nation’s best, but only 15 percent of Oklahoma K–12 students are eligible for it. The legislature should use the golden opportunity provided by the state supreme court to pass a universal education savings account bill, which would go a long way toward remedying Oklahoma public schools’ dismal record of failing to educate its children.
“The goal should be to allow every parent to choose, require every school to compete, and give every child an opportunity to attend a quality school.”
“Schoolchildren won another important victory in Oklahoma, where the court ruled against the frivolous lawsuit put forward by the education establishment. It is time for legislatures and governors to enact ‘loser pays’ clauses against organizations that make false constitutional claims regarding education scholarships.
“Providing vouchers for special-needs students is far more efficient and fair than throwing money at the entrenched special education bureaucracy of the public system.”
“Today’s ruling to uphold the scholarship program for disabled children was a win for school choice advocates. This decision will take away the argument that the use of education savings accounts at religiously affiliated schools violates the Constitution.”
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