Georgia’s School Choice Program Draws Legal Challenge

The Institute for Justice is planning to intervene in the lawsuit, representing parents.

(Page 2 of 2)

The Institute for Justice is planning to intervene in the lawsuit, representing parents–including Lamp. IJ often represents parents in school-choice litigation. "The claims are the same claims we’ve seen over and over again," said Tim Keller, IJ’s lead attorney on the case.

The money going to tax-credit scholarships isn’t public money, Keller said—it’s private money, donations by individuals and corporations.

"The other claim seems to be that somehow this program is impinging on the state’s responsibility to fund public education. But even if this money was collected by the state—and that’s a big 'if' … the Legislature has complete authority to do what it wants with the money," he said.

Other state programs have just as much right to say they’re underfunded, Keller said—and state lawmakers, not tax-credit programs, decide how that money is allocated.

In addition, Keller said, the state’s constitution explicitly allows public funds to be used for scholarships, referring  to Article 8, Section 7, Paragraph 1.

Lamp said she’s happy to participate in the lawsuit because the program has helped her daughter so much.

"I want to protect school choice. I want to protect education for children that the public school system just doesn’t work for. I want to make parents aware that you need to do what’s best for your child sometimes instead of going along with the flow," she said. "What my family has gained from this program is so much more than I can ever lose by being a part of this legal process."

In the meantime, she’s looking forward to graduation. "My daughter’s graduating. I’m one of those emotional mamas that has a senior who’s going to walk across that stage in a few weeks. I’m just so thankful that I was made aware that I had a choice," she said.

She described herself as "pro-education." 

"I still pay my taxes and support the public school system. I pay my part of the private school tuition. … I don’t think we as a society need to just be so focused on 'it has to be one way.' In the classroom, the teachers are being trained that children learn in all different ways, visual and audio, whatever. As a school system, we need to realize that children learn and need to be educated in different ways."

"I’m frustrated that people want to take this away," Lamp said. "To me, that’s like a burglar coming into my home and wanting to rob me of something that’s very valuable to me. I’m very upset about that."

This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org. 

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  • Christophe||

    "SEF is not opposed in principle to school choice, she said, but before the state implements a school-choice program, traditional public schools should be funded at higher levels, and these measures for the tax-credit scholarship should be in place, she said."

    In other words, extortion.

  • Cytotoxic||

    SEF is being clever in trying to sandbag and smother the school choice not oppose it outright like teachers unions do. In this case, choice opponents have shifted tactics. I guess the earlier ones failed, which is a good sign.

  • Sevo||

    The IJ does REALLY nice work; well thought out, well executed. I certainly wish them well in this case.

  • GamerFromJump||

    We got runaways! Get the dogs!

  • straffinrun||

    "We'd like the schools to be held accountable for providing better education than the public schools do for these students."

    How did that slip in there?

  • Will4Freedom||

    Agree. So they are admitting that the Public School does NOT provide "the best" education for these student.

    Well, Duh! If they did.... we wouldn't be looking for alternatives!

    Actually, we still would. Quality is only ONE of the reasons people shop around. Value is another, as is Service.

  • ||

    We must stop these rogue parents from sending their students to anything other than private schools. Please do it for the chilrenz!!! er ah wait, wha?

  • ||

    Er I mean anything but public schools.
    So much fail so early in the morning can only spell doom for the rest of the day.

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