January 5, 2006


Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down School Choice ( Institute for Justice, January 5, 2006)

In a major blow to education reform in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court today struck down the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, the nation’s first statewide school choice program. For six years, Opportunity Scholarships have enabled families to opt out of failing public schools and into better-performing public or private schools.

The Court ruled in an opinion drafted by Chief Justice Barbara Pariente that Opportunity Scholarships violate the Florida Constitution’s “uniformity” clause, which guarantees all Florida students a “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools.” The Court declined to rule on a separate claim by teachers’ unions and other school choice opponents that Opportunity Scholarships violate the state Constitution’s Blaine Amendment.

The 5-2 ruling could force hundreds of mostly minority students out of the private schools of their choice and back into the failing public schools they left. As of last school year, African-Americans and Hispanics made up 95 percent of Opportunity Scholarship recipients.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2006 4:52 PM

Well, uniform, anyway. If tax dollars are involved, mediocrity and the lowest common denominator are all one can expect. And don't complain or try to change things, it's illegal.

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at January 5, 2006 5:30 PM

Doesn't FL elect their supreme court justices? After the 2000 election fiasco and votes like this I don't understand how they keep getting reelected.

Posted by: Gideon at January 5, 2006 5:35 PM

"The Florida Supreme Court--When We're Not Stealing Presidential Elections or Euthenizing the Handicapped, We're Standing In the Schoolhouse Door With a Wooden Gavel-Handle, Keeping Black Children Out...Once Again!"

If Jeb were smart, he'd go to Plantation, Fla. to issue his rebuttal, just for the dateline.

Posted by: Noel at January 5, 2006 5:48 PM

If the conservatives don't gear up for the battle of all battles to change the dingbat soccer mom's (and her emasculated husband) mind on public education, school choice will never become a reality.

The doped white mice don't care about the innercity kids (and never will)

The doped white mice think that their exhorbitant taxes are buying them a good education (they aren't - suburban schools suck, and non-normed tests prove it)

The doped white mice will never change what little is left of their minds until some one is willing to run multi-million $ ad campaign(s)exposing the Enronesque corruption taking place in virtually every school district in the nation.

If we had a choice system, Western Civilization would be safe, but it won't be safe until we have a choice system. The current system is purposefully and systematically working to destroy our civilization.

You can get this shrill now, or more shrill later.

Posted by: Bruno at January 5, 2006 8:20 PM

Lest we forget, the Blaine Amendements passed in states across the USA were a reaction to Catholics building up their own school systems. Nice to see SCOFLA engaging in anti-papism again :(

Posted by: Brad S at January 5, 2006 8:47 PM


Was that shrill enough for ya?

Posted by: Brad S at January 5, 2006 8:48 PM

In Ohio, the Legislature and the Governor just ignored the court, and campaigned against the bad judges. They changed the court which threw in the towel.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 5, 2006 9:55 PM

This is gut check time for the GOP, because this is the time to take the "Mary Landrieu" attitude and ram it down the Democratic Party's throat.

Will they or won't they? If Jeb is really smart, he'll have Michael Steel, Lynn Swann, Ken Blackwell, and J.C. Watts join him on the podium. Along with the guy from MI (Butler, I think). And maybe Ward Connerly. See if Arnold would show up, even.

A full frontal assault on the NEA and the educational establishment would set the tone for the future (2006, 2008) in a beautiful way. And it just might get the GOP to break the barrier on the black vote (up to 15-20%, perhaps).

The Court's ruling on 'uniformity' alone should provide plenty of ammunition - because uniform wretchedness is obviously the standard the Court endorsed.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 5, 2006 10:42 PM

jeb is too soft, he will roll over on this just like his old man did on taxes.

Posted by: toe at January 5, 2006 11:03 PM


Tarring and feathering every member of the NEA and expropriating their wealth isn't shrill enough for me...

But what you've got is a start.

Posted by: Bruno at January 6, 2006 12:12 AM

My advice: Start running ads in inner-city neighborhoods, black or white, right now. Don't explicitly mention the GOP, just mention the squandered hopes of poor children and note which side the Democrats are taking.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 6, 2006 9:42 PM