Arizona's scholarship programs for children with disabilities and children in foster care have given hope to hundreds of children. Hope for a good education. Hope for a better future. For hundreds of children receiving scholarships, this hope has become reality.
Sadly, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has decided to take away their hope. Tom Horne has decided to put the programs "on hold." He says he does not intend to issue scholarships to any families next year.
Horne's justification is a May 15, 2008 decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals, which ruled that the scholarship programs violate the Arizona Constitution. But the Court of Appeals did not enjoin the programs. The Court of Appeals knew that the families relying on the scholarships would appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals knew that its decision would not likely be the last word in this case. The Court of Appeals knew that this case is not over.
The Court of Appeals has not halted these programs. Tom Horne has.
Fortunately, there is still hope for families. The Institute for Justice will go to court to try to ensure that the scholarship continue for those families that are relying on them for a quality education.
For special needs and foster children, a stable learning environment is crucial. Tom Horne's decision is unnecessary and irresponsible. There is no reason to throw children's educational futures into chaos before the Arizona Supreme Court resolves this case. We trust Arizona's courts will agree and act to keep kids in their schools as the case moves forward.
Tim Keller is the executive director of the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter. The Institute for Justice is defending Arizona's scholarship programs in Arizona's courts on behalf of parents and children relying on the scholarship programs.