CONCORD, N.H.—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ) moved to intervene on behalf of New Hampshire families to defend the state’s Education Freedom Accounts (EFA) from a lawsuit filed last week. Parents Amy Shaw, Jessica Ash and Karl Jackson depend on the program to send their children to the schools they are attending today. All are asking the court to consider their arguments in the coming legal battle over the future of the program.
The New Hampshire Legislature created the EFA program to provide low- and middle-income families with education savings accounts that can be used for various education expenses, including private school tuition. Last week, Deb Howes, the head of the American Federation of Teachers in New Hampshire, sued the state Education Commissioner. The suit claims that the program violates the New Hampshire state constitution and state law.
“The New Hampshire Constitution allows the state to have a public school system and alternative educational options,” said IJ Educational Choice Attorney David Hodges. “The educational establishment does not like that parents have new options and now wants to undercut a program that has been working for thousands of New Hampshire families.”
“The EFA makes it possible for me to send my girls to a school that meets their needs and exceeds my expectations,” said Amy Shaw. “Because of my daughters’ unique educational needs, they were unsafe in their previous public school. The thought that the program could go away is worrying to me and I want to defend it on behalf of my girls and many other families who count on it today.”
IJ is the nation’s leading defender of educational choice programs, having won multiple cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year, IJ successfully challenged Maine’s exclusion of religious schools from the state’s tuitioning program in the landmark case Carson v. Makin. In 2020, IJ challenged the New Hampshire tuitioning program’s restrictions on parents choosing religious schools. The lawsuit resulted in the Legislature eliminating the unconstitutional restrictions last year. And in 2014, IJ successfully defended New Hampshire’s tax credit scholarship program at the state supreme court. IJ is currently defending educational choice programs in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.