Empire Strikes Back against School Choice in Courts; Don't Give Up!
A couple days ago I tossed out a Star Trek reference. Today, it’s going to be a Star Wars metaphor. I hope this doesn’t cause any sort of Sci-Fi universe catastrophes, including but not limited to wormholes, disturbances in the Force, or ripples in the space-time continuum.
All that setup to talk about the Empire striking back. This time, though, it doesn’t include Darth Vader, Death Stars, or Storm Troopers. I’m talking about some large organized adult interest groups with high-paid attorneys filing lawsuits to halt promising or successful school choice programs. A couple weeks ago we smiled together at the good news for New Hampshire kids in surviving that state’s legal challenge.
But my post also featured my reaction to news of a new lawsuit against Florida’s scholarship tax credit program:
What, are they nuts? Are they hoping to displace 67,000 low-income students from their chosen learning environments?
The legal action I cited is just one of three anti-choice lawsuits alive and kicking in Florida — a veritable “bumper crop” of efforts to reassert government control over students who have been empowered to succeed elsewhere. Who cares that parents are overwhelmingly satisfied, the state is saving money, students are learning more, and pressure is helping some public schools to improve?
“I don’t understand why there is such controversy surrounding the program,” said Faith Manuel, a Florida mom whose three children have participated in one of the programs. “I’ve only experienced benefits from it for my children … It just really helps me do the job I wanted to do in creating and raising people who are going to be good human citizens, and it’s been successful in doing that.”
If we’re going to help Colorado Kids Win with a similar kind of choice program, we can’t ignore these legal actions in other states but we also can’t be deterred by them. So argues my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow today in the Greeley Tribune:
Some established interests may be threatened by the proven success of scholarship tax credits, and the promise they offer students in more states. But that’s no reason to stop Colorado’s school choice champions from pressing forward.
While Florida (not the Planet Hoth) is the main target for today’s version of the Empire Strikes Back, DeGrow also acknowledges anti-choice lawsuits in Alabama and Florida, as well. He didn’t mention that the Education Borg is even trying to undo its Supreme Court defeat in New Hampshire.
Wait… did I just mix up my Sci-Fi metaphors again? “Beam me up, Luke!” … “Use the force, Spock!”
Never mind. Better quit while I’m ahead. Writing this post, that is. All you champions for education freedom out there, time to stand strong and pick up the pace. We can’t give up on a great way to help thousands more Colorado students succeed. Because remember: Empire Strikes Back may have been the best of the Star Wars movies, but it’s not the end of the story.