Partnership for Educational Choice Vows to Defend Arkansas’ Education Freedom Accounts Against Lawsuit

Dan King
Dan King · June 11, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—Today, the Partnership for Educational Choice—a joint project of the Institute for Justice (IJ) and EdChoice—announced it intends to intervene on behalf of Arkansas parents to defend the state’s Education Freedom Accounts program against a newly filed lawsuit

“The Education Freedom Accounts program directly benefits families by giving parents the means to provide their children with the best education to fit their unique needs,” said IJ Attorney Joe Gay. “Parents and children deserve that opportunity, and we will make sure they continue to have it.” 

The Education Freedom Accounts program, which was created in 2023 as part of the LEARNS Act, provides eligible families with up to $6,856 to cover certain educational expenses. Eligible students include students with a disability, students experiencing homelessness, current or former foster care children, the children of military members, the children of first responders, and more. Qualifying educational expenses include tuition and fees, curriculum, supplemental materials, school uniforms, technology, tutoring, and therapy. 

The Education Freedom Accounts program has become popular since its passage. Last school year, nearly 5,000 students actively participated in the program and more than half of Arkansas voters with a child in K-12 school have favorable opinions on the program. 

“This lawsuit is simply an attack on the right of parents to direct their children’s education,” said EdChoice Vice President and Director of Litigation Thomas M. Fisher. “There’s a reason the program is as popular as it is – because it helps Arkansas families.” 

Not only does the lawsuit seek to take these funds away from families and block them from receiving these benefits in the future, it also seeks to force private schools that received tuition payments from parents using the program to give that money to the state. 

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-Harris, Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, Carson 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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