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Opening Arguments

A choice verdict

The Indiana Supreme Court on the state's school voucher program --  Ain't saying it's good, just saying it's legal:

The state Supreme Court agreed with that, saying in a 22-page opinion written by Chief Justice Brent Dickson that the program primarily benefited parents, not schools, because it gave parents choice in their children's education.

Dickson also rejected school voucher opponents' claims that the state constitution requires a public school system, saying lawmakers have broad discretion in how children are educated.

"The method and means of fulfilling this duty is thus delegated to the sound legislative discretion of the General Assembly, and . . . it is not for the judiciary to evaluate the prudence of the chosen policy," he wrote.

The point seems so obvious to me that it's not worth articulating. It's not the court's duty to tell legislators what they should do, only what it is permissible for them to do under constitutional restraints.

But apparently some are so impressed by Civics 101 they feel the need to instruct the rest of us. The Journal Gazette this morning spent most of a lengthy editorial telling us that constitutionality doesn't necessarily equal advisability:

The fact that the chief justice raised the issues of desirability and efficacy should be a warning to legislators eager to expand voucher use, however. It might meet constitutional muster, but there’s no research to suggest it serves students well.

“School choice continues to prove its successes nationwide,” boasted Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, in a news release Tuesday.

But school choice has not proven its success in Indiana classrooms, only in the minds of lawmakers increasingly beholden to the same pro-voucher and anti-union interests who drafted the disingenuously named Choice Scholarship Program.

Yeah, well. Pass law. Study effect. Respond accordingly. Got it.



alan gilbert M.D>
Sat, 03/30/2013 - 1:39pm

The Indiana Supreme Court  by its decision is hurting the public schools and a slap against the Indiana State Teachers Association.