ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Today, a group of Alaska families announced that they have teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to defend the state’s correspondence school program against a lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks to end parents’ ability to use their correspondence school allotments for private educational services, including expenses at private schools.
“Alaska’s correspondence study program has produced massive educational benefits for Alaska’s children,” said IJ Attorney David Hodges. “We’re prepared to defend the rights of all Alaska families to get the educational services that best fit their unique needs.”
As a sparsely populated state, Alaska faces unique challenges in ensuring that all children can receive an education. To address this concern, the state created “correspondence programs,” in which a student’s public school used the post office or float planes to deliver lessons to students across the state and then pick up and grade assignments. In 1997, this law was broadened to allow parents more ability to design their children’s curriculum and receive reimbursement for certain educational expenses. Then, in 2014, the law was broadened even further to allow correspondence schools to reimburse parents if they chose to send their students to nonpublic schools.
“The Alaska correspondence school program helped me find the school that works best for my son,” said Andrea Moceri, one of the parents teaming up with IJ. “I am defending this program so that every Alaska family has access to the best education possible for their children.”
IJ is the leader in defending school choice programs throughout the country. In 2020, IJ won a case before the United States Supreme Court which held that a state does not need to subsidize private education, but that once it chooses to do so it cannot discriminate against a school solely because it is religious. Two years later, IJ won another landmark case before the nation’s highest court, which established that Maine’s exclusion of religious schools from its tuitioning program violated the Constitution. Earlier this year, IJ intervened in a New Hampshire case to defend the popular Education Freedom Account Program, which allows families to use public funds on various educational expenses.