On June 27, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Cleveland’s school choice program in the most important education decision since Brown v. Board of Education. The court’s ruling in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris removed the federal Constitution from the legal arsenal of teachers’ unions and other school choice opponents and opened the door to full vindication of Brown’s promise of equal educational opportunity for all.
The federal lawsuit was the second brought by school choice opponents against the Cleveland program; in the first challenge, filed in state court, the Ohio Supreme Court also declared school choice constitutional.
The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program provides children from low-income, inner-city families with publicly funded scholarships to attend the private school of their parents’ choice. (Suburban public schools were invited to join the program, but refused.) The program was implemented as part of a comprehensive effort by the Ohio Legislature to aid one of the most troubled public school districts in the country. For more information about school choice in Cleveland and nationwide, Visit our comprehensive School Choice Media Kit.
Cleveland, Ohio, School Choice
July 27, 1999
U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio
After reviewing each state’s constitutional provisions for passages most relevant to school choice legislation, as well as any case law or legal opinions involving those provisions, IJ found that in nearly every state in the union, a well-designed school choice program is viable.