FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ADF: Indiana low-income families should have right to access better schools
ADF asks Indiana Supreme Court to uphold state’s Choice Scholarship Program
Thursday, April 12, 2012
ADF attorney sound bite: Gregory Baylor
— Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief
Wednesday with the Indiana Supreme Court in support of Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program
. The program was created by the state legislature in May 2011 to provide scholarships to lower income families to attend a school that best fits their children’s needs. A lower court upheld
the constitutionality of the program in January. Those opposing the program subsequently filed an appeal, which went directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.
“Parents should be able to choose what’s best for their own children, and that’s exactly what the Choice Scholarship Program facilitates,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “In addition, significant evidence shows that the competition inspired by voucher programs improves underperforming public schools’ academic outcomes. The ultimate winners are Indiana families who want to provide the best education for their children, whether it is public or private.”
In the brief
, filed on behalf of private, religious schools throughout the state and a statewide association of non-public schools, teachers, and students, ADF attorneys document the improved academic performance of students who attend private schools: “Testing data uniformly supports the proposition that low-income students have a higher probability of success in Indiana’s private schools…Hence, the General Assembly had ample grounds to conclude that enhancing low-income students’ access to private schools would increase their likelihood of academic success.”
The brief also argues that the program saves taxpayer money, stating: “…although limited in scope to a single city, the Milwaukee voucher program resulted in a saving of nearly $52 million in a single year…Money saved through Indiana’s voucher program is available to meet other state needs, including those of public school systems…The only public institutions to experience a financial pinch will thus be those whose abysmal performance effects a mass exodus. And there is every reason to think that students attending such schools would be better served elsewhere.”
Michael Wilkins, one of more than 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is local counsel in the case, Meredith v. Daniels.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.