Time to Go Wild: Legal Win for Kids Helped by Arizona's Cutting-Edge ESAs

Most Fridays I just want to get up, stick my tongue out, yell, and run around like a wild man. Hey, I’m a kid, it’s okay to be crazy. Sometimes it’s a frustrated, “I can’t take it any more”-kind of crazy. Today, it’s a feeling of relief turned into exhilaration. The Federation for Children delivers the great news that the Arizona Supreme Court upholds the state’s cutting-edge Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) as constitutional:

“This is a tremendous win for the children in Arizona who deserve quality educational options,” said Kevin Chavous, executive counsel for the American Federation for Children. “Empowerment scholarship accounts serve as a promise and a lifeline for many children with special needs or those trapped in failing schools who all deserve access to the publicly funded education guaranteed to them by law.”

The Arizona School Boards Association appealed to the higher court after losing their case in the Arizona Court of Appeals by a 3-0 decision in October 2013. Today, the Arizona Supreme Court denied the petition for review. [link added]

It wasn’t so long ago we were celebrating together over the fantastic news of Mississippi closing in on the distinction of becoming the second state to join the innovative, kid-friendly ESA ranks. (Looks like it’s getting close to the finish line.)

Both the (nearly adopted) Mississippi and the (until recently challenged) Arizona programs are targeted to serve special needs kids. But the Grand Canyon State is also debating a proposal to expand ESAs from the 761 students its serves now to about 28,000.

To the extend that all these efforts succeed, the more Matt Ladner’s 18-month-old, aptly-titled Friedman Foundation report “The Way of the Future” looks prophetic. In fact, I felt prophetic going to the Jay Greene blog, knowing with near certainty that I would see a post from Ladner celebrating the Arizona legal victory.

Just call me Karnak. After congratulating the successful wonks and legal eagles, and telling the “Know-Nothing” opponents to eat their hearts out, Ladner concludes:

Most of all congratulations to the participating parents. Their stories can bring even the stoic to tears. The program upon which your family depends is safe from court assault now. Thank you for your unyielding support!

The stories may bring most people to tears. But the good news is enough to keep me bouncing off the walls and letting someone else finish the blog….