IJ Arizona Chapter Intervenes To Help Parents Win School Choice

May 1, 2002

May 2002

IJ Arizona Chapter Intervenes To Help Parents Win School Choice

By Tom Liddy

Seven Arizona school districts admitted they are failing to provide an adequate education to children of poor families.

The districts’ solution?

“Since we failed with the resources you’ve entrusted to us, give us more!” they demand. “Trust us.”

Teaming up with a notorious advocate who continually advances a bigger role for government in individuals’ lives, the failing school districts labeled the kids as “at-risk” and filed a lawsuit seeking additional tax dollars with no promise of reform. They cite the Arizona Constitution, which guarantees each student the right to a basic education.

But the IJ Arizona Chapter threw a monkey wrench into their plans. IJ’s first state chapter moved to intervene in the lawsuit, representing poor children trapped in two of the seven failing districts. IJ’s clients don’t seek additional funds; they seek a choice of schools with the funds currently allotted to their children’s education.

Among those IJ represents is Maria Cano, a single mother of five who works full time in a warehouse struggling to make ends meet. Ms. Cano’s eldest son, Jose, attends a private school on a scholarship and would be unable to study there were it not for the outside assistance. She sees how much better Jose is doing than her other boys. She longs to give her younger sons the same educational opportunity as their big brother.

The kids IJ represents have no time for reforms that may or may not happen years down the line. They need a lifeline now. School choice is the only remedy that will give these kids access to a quality education today.

Tom Liddy is the executive director of the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter.

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