Parents Move to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Utah Fits All Scholarship Program, Team Up with Partnership for Educational Choice to Defend Program

Phillip Suderman · June 4, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—Today, the Partnership for Educational Choice (Partnership”)—a joint project of the Institute for Justice (IJ) and EdChoice—announced they will be representing mothers Maria Ruiz and Tiffany Brown to defend against a newly filed lawsuit attempting to shut down the Utah Fits All Scholarship (UFAS) program. Both parents, who have children eligible for the popular educational choice program, filed a motion this morning to intervene as defendants in the lawsuit challenging the UFAS brought by the Utah Education Association and a member of the Utah State Board of Education.

“When I first heard about the program, I was so excited. It provides families like mine the opportunity to give my children the chance to attend a school that fits their unique needs and gifts,” said Maria Ruiz. “It’s heartbreaking that the teachers’ union is trying to take the program away from us, and I am fighting back to protect school choice in Utah.”

“This educational choice program wouldn’t just help my children but has the chance to positively impact every child in the state,” said Tiffany Brown. “Not every child learns the same way and some families, like mine, have children with special needs, so it is important that parents can afford educational options that best address a child’s needs.”

The UFAS program provides education savings accounts, worth up to $8,000, that families can use on a wide variety of educational expenses for their children. More than 27,000 students applied for the 10,000 accounts available in the first year of the program, demonstrating the overwhelming demand that Utah families have for meaningful educational options in addition to the public school system. The lawsuit filed by the teachers’ union, if successful, would take those options away.

“The Utah Fits All scholarship program puts parents in charge by empowering them to afford educational options that will work best for their children,” said IJ Managing Attorney Arif Panju. “The Utah Education Association’s lawsuit is trying to deny Utah families that opportunity in order to protect the monopoly on education that it currently enjoys. They will not succeed in depriving Utah families from using an educational program that puts students before systems.”

“All Utah students deserve the opportunity for a quality education,” said Thomas M. Fisher, EdChoice Vice President and Director of Litigation. “Utah was right to prioritize student needs over a state monopoly, and we will eagerly defend its decision to empower families.”

The Partnership for Educational Choice, which launched in late 2023, is a project of IJ and EdChoice. For more than three decades, IJ has been the nation’s leading law firm defending educational choice programs and expanding educational access and opportunity. Since its founding in 1991, it has successfully represented parents in educational choice lawsuits in numerous state supreme courts, intermediate courts of appeal, and trial courts, as well as four times at the U.S. Supreme Court (Zelman v. Simmons-HarrisArizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. WinnEspinoza v. Montana Department of RevenueCarson v. Makin). During that time, EdChoice has been the premier organization providing critical research and educational information to stakeholders working to expand educational choice throughout the country. In late 2023, it added a litigation arm, EdChoice Legal Advocates, to its portfolio.

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To arrange interviews on this subject, journalists may contact Phillip Suderman, IJ’s Communications Project Manager, at [email protected] or (850) 376-4110. More information on the case is available at:

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