August 4, 2014

PLF supports school choice in Colorado

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

This morning PLF submitted an amicus brief in the Colorado Supreme Court in Taxpayers for Public Education v. Douglas County School District.  This case is being brought by a number of anti-school choice groups to prevent Douglas County from allowing students and their parents to choose the school that best suits their needs.  PLF’s brief argues that there is nothing in the Colorado Constitution that forbids school districts from giving parents the option to send their children to private — sometimes religious — schools.  PLF also directs the court to a wealth of information touting the benefits of school choice: it improves student achievement, increases parental involvement, and saves taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program is important for the future of school choice. The Douglas County School Board is the first school board in the nation to enact a school choice program.  Further, any resident of the county is eligible for the scholarship.  No student is required to attend a religious school; tax dollars only flow to private schools through the private, independent choices of parents.

While many states throughout the country have enacted school choice programs, Douglas County has done so on its own initiative.  It can stand as a model for other school districts in the country that want to improve the educational opportunities for their students.  If the Douglas County Program succeeds — as the evidence suggests it will — we may see an explosion of options for students stuck in failing schools. That’s why PLF felt it was crucially important to support the school district and families in this case.

Many thanks to Ryan J. Klein of Sherman & Howard for his help on the case.

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