In Government of Nashville v. Tennessee Department of Education, the Liberty Justice Center represents the two school leaders and three families who would qualify to participate in the Education Savings Account (ESA) Pilot Program for the 2020-2021 school year. The ESA Pilot Program provides scholarships to low-income families assigned to the schools that are consistently and historically the lowest-performing in the state. The families can use the scholarship funds to attend schools that provide better education opportunities for their children.
The excerpt of the article below by Kaylin Jorge appeared on February 4, 2021 on ABC9.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over school vouchers, also known as the Education Savings Account, or ESA.
On Thursday, the court agreed to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of Gov. Lee’s ESA pilot program.
The voucher law was enacted in May 2019, despite objections from local government officials in both counties, and was supposed to be enacted in Aug. 2020. But in May 2020, a judge blocked the program from going into effect, but immediately allowed an appeal.
Right now, the pilot program would provide low-income students in Nashville and Memphis with a $7,000 scholarship to attend the school of their choice.
School voucher advocates were asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to take over the legal battle challenging the constitutionality of a program that would allow parents to use public tax dollars on private school tuition.
“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court has decided to take this important case to protect the rights of thousands of low-income students to attend the school that best fits their needs,” said Brian Kelsey, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Tennessee students and families now have the opportunity to be heard and continue their fight to narrow gaps in educational inequality and access.”
American Federation of Children-Tennessee’s State Director Shaka Mitchell said he is also encouraged by the news.
“The Education Savings Account program is, and always has been, a program to benefit kids and parents and empower them to make the best decision for their family. Ultimately, all parents want what is best for their child, and for their education. We are encouraged by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision today to hear the case, and we look forward to this final step being resolved so that all Tennessee students can access a great education.”
Read the full article on ABC9.