Educational Choice
Publicly Funded Scholarships

Eidson, et. al. v. South Carolina Department of Education, et. al.

Brief Details

David Hodges
Educational Choice Attorney
Michael Bindas
Senior Attorney
Date Filed
Original Court
South Carolina Supreme Court
Current Court
South Carolina Supreme Court

On February 1, the Partnership for Educational Choice—a joint project of IJ and EdChoice to advocate and defend educational choice nationwide—filed an amicus brief in the South Carolina Supreme Court, seeking to defend the state’s Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF) Program against a lawsuit brought by the state teachers’ union and other plaintiffs.  

South Carolina’s ESTF Program provides families with publicly funded savings accounts, capped at $6,000, that can be used to pay for a wide range of educational goods and services. The goods and services include tuition for an education service provider; fees for national exams, such as advanced placement exams; tutoring services approved by the Department of Education; fees for college admission exams or industry certification exams; and therapies and other services for students with disabilities. 

The brief filed by the Partnership for Educational Choice makes two arguments that defend the constitutionality of the educational choice program:  

  1. Because the program permits families to spend their account funds on a wide variety of educational expenses, none of which must be related to a private school, the program does not provide “direct” benefits to private schools. Thus, the program is constitutional under the South Carolina Constitution. 
  1. If the South Carolina Supreme Court were to apply Article XI, Section 4 to bar the legislature from providing financial aid to private school students, it would violate United States Supreme Court precedent protecting the right of parents to direct their children’s education.