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Movement for Private School Choice Shifts to State Legislatures

Asher Lehrer-Small, The 74 |

After her Jan. 7 resignation, former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos left office with little to show for her signature push to fund private school scholarships through federal tax credits.

But on the heels of Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, a Supreme Court ruling from June 2020 in which a 5-4 conservative majority ruled that states could not constitutionally exclude religious institutions from participating in programs that subsidize private school tuition, and in the throes of a deadly pandemic that has led many families to seek new education opportunities, a number of state governments are now expanding programs that provide publicly funded scholarships for private schools.

In December, a school choice advocacy organization called the Pioneer Institute released a toolkit, with a foreword written by plaintiff Kendra Espinoza, to guide states on crafting their own programs.


Learn more about the Pioneer Institute and the report.

The report’s author, Jason Bedrick, who works as director of policy at EdChoice, said that the ruling eases the legal barriers to enacting tax-credit scholarship policies. “The Espinoza decision is clarifying and may open some doors in some state legislatures,” he told The 74.

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