Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle over School Choice

By in Educational Law & Legislation on August 23, 2013

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Set against the backdrop of a monopoly public school system that consigns millions of disadvantaged children to educational inequality, the recent Cleveland school vouchers case, appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, has brought this issue to national attention.

2 thoughts on “Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle over School Choice

  1. Midwest Book Review
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Examining landmark educational cases, May 15, 2003
    Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) –

    This review is from: Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle over School Choice (Paperback)

    Voucher Wars: Waging The Legal Battle Over School Choice considers the legal battles over school choice and the underlying issues of failing public schools, examining landmark educational cases and the 12-year struggle to provide families with real choices in educational quality. Bolick began and nurtured the legal battle for school choice for underprivileged children: Voucher Wars outlines the issues.

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  2. D. A. Martin "Avid Reader"
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hooray for Clint Bolick and School Choice!, September 24, 2003
    D. A. Martin “Avid Reader” (Morocco) –

    As a product of Cleveland’s public school system, I can attest to its dismal state of affairs.

    To say that poor, inner-city students in Cleveland were not receiving a quality education would be like saying that Michael Jordan is good at basketball. The school district did not meet any of the 18 performance standards set for it, and only one in ten 9th graders could pass a basic proficiency exam. In 1995, three years after I graduated from high school, a federal judge placed the school district in state receivership.

    The Ohio state legislature subsequently enacted the Cleveland Scholarship Program to provide scholarships and tutoring assistance to children residing in the Cleveland City School District. The program allows both private and public schools in adjacent districts to accept scholarship students by lottery, with low-income students receiving priority if the number of applicants supercedes the number of scholarships, while participating schools agree not to discriminate on the basic of race, religion, or ethnic background.

    In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Cleveland’s scholarship program, giving a huge victory to poor students longing for a quality education and poor parents who want them to have a chance at a better future. Attorney Clint Bolick and his outstanding legal team helped to make school choice a legal sanctioned reality.

    In “Voucher Wars,” Bolick recounts his 12-year roller coaster ride to give disadvantaged schoolchildren a chance at a better future. That struggle began with the nation’s first school choice program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1990 and culminated with the 2002 Supreme Court decision in Zelman. He shows how the teachers’ unions time and again threw up legal challenges to oppose school choice even though most union members enroll their own children in private schools.

    Bolick notes that the Ohio federal court injunction against the Cleveland scholarship program that was overturned by the Supreme Court would have snatched 4,000 scholarship students out of quality charter and magnet schools and placed them back into failing public schools before the 1999-2000 school year began. He calls the teachers’ union support for the injunction “a strategic miscalculation of titanic significance.”

    The High Court’s ruling was a big thumb to the eye of school choice opponents – most notably the politically powerful National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. They still seem willing to condemn poor – and mostly minority – children to educational cesspools just to maintain their status quo stranglehold on public education.

    While Bolick points out there is still much more to be done, this books tells an emotional and uplifting story of a high-stakes battle that he helped to win. It is an excellent read.

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