Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Court Decision on Vouchers Draws Praise, Criticism

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Court Decision on Vouchers Draws Praise, Criticism

Article excerpt

The U.S. Supreme Court's narrow decision favoring school vouchers is triggering an intense debate about the future of public education.

In a 5-4 ruling, the high court found a Cleveland school voucher program constitutional. Proponents called the ruling potentially as important as the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, while critics said the decision would undermine public education.

"The court's decision is a victory not only for low-income parents and students, but for American education as well," says Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "It lays the groundwork for future progress on private school choice and moves us decisively forward in the drive for equal educational opportunity."

The court's decision in Simmons-Harris v. Zelman upheld a program that allows low-income families in Cleveland to use their share of Title I federal education dollars at private schools or suburban public schools. Families of 4,000 children received scholarships of $2,250 to use at these schools.

The public schools decided not to participate in the project, but many students used the scholarships to enroll in local private schools, which agreed to set an income cap of $2,500 for these students. …

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