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EdChoice Vouchers Affect the Rights of Vulnerable Ohio Children with Low Incomes as Argued in Amicus Brief

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) joined several advocacy and legal services organizations to file an amicus brief in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s school voucher program. The lawsuit was brought by more than 100 school districts. The court accepted the amicus brief on July 15, 2022.

The Amici Curiae parties include ABLE, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Community Legal Aid Services, Inc., Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc., Disability Rights Ohio, Ohio Poverty Law Center, and the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

As Franklin County Court of Common Pleas considers whether to grant the State of Ohio’s motion to dismiss Columbus City School District, et al v. State of Ohio, et. al, the organizations felt compelled to file an amicus brief because every child in Ohio deserves a high-quality education. The EdChoice Voucher Program not only hinders the state’s ability to provide a high-quality education to all its students, but it also exacerbates long standing systemic issues. By continuing to operate the EdChoice Voucher Program as it currently stands, Ohio’s most vulnerable children will continue to be failed by the very institutions that are supposed to help them achieve success.

As the amicus brief details, Ohio’s EdChoice Voucher Program harms our most vulnerable students. EdChoice compounds the underfunding of the public schools in Ohio, harming Ohio’s most economically disadvantaged students. Data shows that EdChoice promotes racial segregation, undoing years of work toward desegregating our public schools. EdChoice directly harms students with disabilities by removing crucial protections that students receive in public schools. Finally, EdChoice subjects LGBTQIA+ students and other students in protected classes to possible discrimination.

The Civil Legal Aid Amici Curiae parties have a particular interest in this case because its outcome directly affects the rights and opportunities of low-income Ohio families. Civil legal aid organizations provide legal help in a broad range of civil matters to low-income Ohioans, including assistance in PreK-12 education law matters. 

Read the full amicus brief here.

About the author

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.