March 19, 2020

IJ’s commitment to helping parents access the best educational options for their children doesn’t stop at the courtroom door. Through our 29 years as the lawyers for the educational choice movement, IJ knows that parent participation and grassroots support are crucial to the passage and long-term success of choice programs. That’s why IJ attorneys routinely join forces with our activism team to amplify our efforts—with life-changing results.

One recent example of this teamwork in action comes from Kentucky. For several years, legislators and advocates in the Bluegrass State have been working to join the 18 other states with tax-credit scholarship programs. But special interests and the status quo are strong, and it’s been a tough slog for grassroots activists who want choice for their children. This year, however, brings the greatest chance for change yet.

One crucial reason for that is the on-the-ground activism and legal support that IJ is providing our allies. We stand with Kentucky parents who are desperate for better options and with the legislators who are working to get it done, and we see the results unfold every day.

On the activism front, that means talking to parents in schools and at events, training parents on how to talk to their legislators, hosting movie screenings, and going with parents to the state Capitol to talk with elected officials face to face. And when we learn about concerns from legislators, our attorneys are ready, providing regular briefings about ways that educational choice can support their reform goals while remaining entirely consistent with Kentucky’s unique state constitutional provisions. We also provide updates about new and pending legal developments, including, most recently, IJ’s case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which we argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in January this year.

Working hand in hand with families, this past August, IJ’s litigation and activism teams started meeting with legislators from across Kentucky. Some were concerned about legal issues, whereas others wanted to hear from the families who would be affected. As Liberty & Law goes to print, Kentucky legislators are in session and educational choice is still up in the air—but IJ is continuing the fight on all fronts to maximize our chances of a victory for all Kentucky families seeking new educational opportunities.

All children deserve the chance to learn at schools that fit their needs, and we are proud to stand with Kentucky families who know they have the full backing of the National Law Firm for Liberty.

Rebekah Bydlak is IJ’s activism manager.

David Hodges is an IJ educational choice attorney.

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