Friday Freakout: Are Lawsuits Against School Choice Options About Kids or Control?

The news has been abuzz with educational choice litigation developments the past few weeks.

Amicus briefs have been filed to defend Nevada’s nearly universal education savings accounts and Douglas County, Colorado’s school vouchers. A judge protected New Hampshire’s town tuitioning program. And some school districts are suing to end charter school options in California.

Very often, opponents in cases like those are important agents of public school systems, such as school boards, districts, superintendents, and others. Unfortunately, a rub exists between those agents’ dedication to educating children and the actions they take against options that help children learn. And many people who support both public school employees and educational choices for families are left puzzled.

What are lawsuits to thwart the growth of educational choice really about?

Consider this cycle.

1. Public schools grow to a point where enrollment share is far out of line with parents’ schooling preferences.

SCIA Survey Question Enrollment Preferences


2. Parents demand to be empowered to access more diverse schooling options for their kids.



3. Policymakers create educational choices that expand publicly funded education to include more than the traditional ZIP Code-assigned public schooling, such as public charter schools, magnet schools, private school choice programs, blended and online schools, homeschooling, and more.

SCIA Dashboard

4. Many students leave their assigned public schools for the educational settings that better fit their needs, taking a portion of public schools’ revenue with them.

IN Choice Scholarship Program Participation

5. Rather than downsize to adjust for smaller enrollments, public school leaders and other affiliates sue to shut down school choice options that are competing with traditional public schools.

6. If they win those lawsuits, start back at 1.


We can’t help but wonder: Is this cycle what school choice opponents think is best for parents and children?


To keep up on the latest and join in the dialogue on educational choice litigation, follow the Friedman Foundation on Twitter @edchoice. Want to learn more about the constitutionality of school choice on the federal level and in the states? Click here.