School Choice is on the Agenda
Today was a big day on the school choice front. The NY Times ran a story about a closely-watched case with potentially enormous implications for parents of children with learning disabilities. The case, which the United States Supreme Court has agreed to review has been brought by former Viacom CEO Freston who wants to recoup his son’s private school tuition from New York City. Freston, who obviously can afford the bills is suing on principle so that others with less means have the same opportunity to treat their children to the best education available (he donated the two years of reimbursements he did receive to a local public school for a tutoring program).
Voucher proponents as well as children’s advocates are watching the case. The school choice folks believe all taxpayers should be able to choose private schooling for themselves and recover public money that would otherwise have been spent on them. Children’s advocates believe it is unfair to force children to go through a public school to “prove” that it failed to meet their needs and only then move on to a nonpublic setting at taxpayer expense.
In addition, the Sun reports that a New York appellate court is refusing to allow Dianne Payne (and her lawyer, Eric Grannis) a chance to make oral arguments in her appeal of the lower court ruling dismissing her case. Ms. Payne seeks reimbursement from the State for the amount of money it spends on her two children in public middle school and wishes to use that money for private school. Her unique argument is based on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, that New York City public schools are not providing a constitutionally adequate education.