Litigating for school choice


Author: Daniel Himebaugh

In case you haven’t heard, January 23-29 is National School Choice Week.  According to the organizers, this nationwide event is designed to call attention to the need for “a K-12 education system that provides a wide array of options” to parents and students.

As I’ve pointed out before, PLF works diligently to ensure that courts understand the benefits of a public education system driven by free-market principles, and conversely, the drawbacks of educational monopolies.

For example, we recently filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, a case involving an Arizona program that allows taxpayers to receive a tax credit for donating to school choice tuition organizations.  In defense of the law, we highlighted the importance of allowing states to promote school choice:

Without parental choice, schools “lack the positive incentive for better performance that most other types of service institutions take for granted.”  (citation omitted).  Just as monopolies “provide poor quality because they have little incentive to serve their clients well,” so too, education services and schools’ responsiveness to consumer demand deteriorates when suppliers are isolated from consumer preferences.  (citation omitted).  School choice programs break that monopoly, giving parents options and mobility, thereby disciplining inadequate schools and encouraging them to create a better learning environment for students.

We also recently submitted an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in a case called Walnut Valley Unified School District v. Rowland Unified School District and State Department of Education, to defend against Rowland’s desperate efforts to block dissatisfied students from transferring out of the district.

At PLF, we are proud of the unique role we play in making sure that government does not ignore the gains that could be achieved by introducing more competition into an educational system so often characterized by underperformance.