Believing that the United States can no longer condemn millions of school children to underperforming and unsafe schools, the ACLJ is launching this new initiative to advance school choice and justice for all Americans.
"Children are being robbed of the American dream," says Jay Sekulow, ACLJ Chief Counsel. "As parents, we’d do anything to give our kids every advantage, including giving them the best education possible. But kids from underprivileged communities are being set up to fail by our floundering public schools, denying them access to quality education."
The ACLJ believes that education is one of the civil rights issues of our time. Children from disadvantaged areas – particularly minority communities – are getting lost in the shuffle of our inadequate public school system, leaving them feeling undervalued and disparaged, leading directly to the current racial unrest.
While the ACLJ believes that expanding school choice is largely a function of state and local law, it is possible for the federal government to have a significant role that includes providing funding for pilot programs throughout the nation.
The ACLJ intends to expand its footprint in this arena by taking principled legal action where appropriate, issuing policy reports based on empirical data that will demolish the fuzzy data offered by vouchers' opponents, and contesting specious arguments against vouchers and school choice.
“We can no longer leave the existing educational regime unchallenged,” says Harry G. Hutchison, Senior Counsel and Director of Policy for the ACLJ. “No longer can we stand by and allow underperforming schools to consign millions of children to deficient, and yet often highly funded, schools.”
As part of their efforts, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief in a case currently pending at the Supreme Court, Espinoza, et al., v. Montana Department of Revenue, et al., contesting the failure of the state of Montana to distribute religion-neutral benefits (tax credits) to eligible private entities solely on the basis of their religious identity or activities.
The ACLJ will continue to support funding for school choice programs like the one that was discontinued and then revived in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ will also redouble its efforts to expose outdated and unsubstantiated claims suggesting that funding vouchers necessarily leaves public schools without sufficient funding. The reality is quite different because vouchers make public schools more accountable and more competitive, thus providing underperforming public schools with an incentive to improve.
"The goal of this, of our initiative, is to use this as a vehicle to attain justice for all of America’s children, including the least among us,” said ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow on Monday’s broadcast. "We believe that these public schools get plenty of money. They spend plenty of resources. They don’t need any more money; they need to up their game to compete with the other schools. This should be a level playing field; we pay for it with our taxpayer dollars. And if they can’t compete, and a Charter School can come in, and a Private School can come in with vouchers and students have access to it in those communities, and it makes it tougher on the public school, then so be it, if the public school won’t up its game and help. Because there’s no excuse for a public school that’s already failing to keep failing."
The American dream begins with a quality education for ALL children. And that begins with school choice.
"I have school-aged children and I see every day how adjustments in classroom environment can change the world for them,” says Logan Sekulow, ACLJ's Director of Media. "I brought this to the attention of our team because this is an issue that could unite our country during these uncertain times. Through the School Choice Initiative, my team will be focusing on spotlighting our call for change through radio, television, and most importantly for these type of issues - social media. Every person should know what School Choice is and why we believe action needs to be taken in support of it.”
Sign the Petition to Demand School Choice, Justice, and Equality of Opportunity for Every Child: https://aclj.org/school-choice/demand-school-choice--give-every-child-equality-of-opportunity-and-justice
For more information, visit https://aclj.org/school-choice/advancing-justice-by-expanding-school-choice.
Monday’s full broadcast of Jay Sekulow Live is complete with much more in-depth discussion about the new School Choice Initiative and how you can get involved. Watch the full broadcast here.