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 told the East Valley Tribune that their hopes are coming to an end: No new scholarships will issue for next school year.
This comes on the heels of a May 15, 2008, decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals saying 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-nor should Tom Horne.
For special needs and foster children, a stable learning environment is crucial. Children's educational futures should not be thrown into chaos before the Arizona Supreme Court provides a final legal ruling in this case.
Ending these scholarships is not only tragic and premature, it is unnecessary. Horne can and should continue to support the families who are relying on them for a quality education.
In the meantime, the Institute for Justice will go to court to try to ensure that the programs continue.
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.
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