Public Statement: Pioneer Institute Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Espinoza School Choice Case

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

Pioneer Institute applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a bigoted state constitutional amendment in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Like Massachusetts, Montana is among nearly 40 states with so-called anti-aid amendments, which have roots in 19th century anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant discrimination.

Kendra Espinoza, a single mom from Montana, sought a better education for her daughters. In public school, one daughter was bullied and the other struggled academically. Both would later thrive in a parochial school. After the Montana Supreme Court struck down her state’s education tax credit program, Ms. Espinoza was denied access to the scholarships her children badly needed.

The basis for the Montana court’s decision was the now discredited anti-aid amendment in the state constitution. These provisions in Montana and other states represent distinct but formidable legacies of a dark, bigoted chapter of history that still limits educational opportunities for students and families who need them most.

Nationally, over 250,000 largely poor and minority students benefit from private-school choice through education tax credits. Today’s ruling makes it possible for many more students to benefit.

“The Espinoza family has been courageous in taking on its own government’s clear bias,” said Jamie Gass, director of Pioneer’s educational research and programming. “The coming generation of students in Montana and many other states will benefit greatly from that courage—and Kendra’s desire to do what is best for her children educationally.”

Pioneer submitted an amicus curiae in support of Kendra Espinoza. Prior to that, Pioneer submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the case. Last year, Pioneer hosted Kendra, her two daughters, and her attorney from the Institute for Justice, Erica Smith, all of whom appeared at two events in Boston. For well over a decade Pioneer Institute has highlighted this important legal and educational topic through research, events, op-eds, and a documentary film.

Justice Alito cited Pioneer’s amicus brief in his concurrence.

“Now comes the test for the legislature and the hundreds of parochial, Jewish Day and other private schools in Massachusetts,” said Jim Stergios, Pioneer’s executive director. “Will the legislature have the self-reflection to understand the troubling bias they have aided and abetted for over a century? Will the private schools demand the equal access to students clearly articulated in the Espinoza decision?”

Get Updates on Our School Choice Research

ABOUT PIONEER

Mission
Pioneer Institute develops and communicates dynamic ideas that advance prosperity and a vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond.
Vision
Success for Pioneer is when the citizens of our state and nation prosper and our society thrives because we enjoy world-class options in education, healthcare, transportation and economic opportunity, and when our government is limited, accountable and transparent.
Values
Pioneer believes that America is at its best when our citizenry is well-educated, committed to liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise, and both willing and able to test their beliefs based on facts and the free exchange of ideas.

Related Research

Homeschooling Expert Kerry McDonald on Harvard Law Professor Controversy & COVID

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a homeschooling expert and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into "homeschoolers."

Ashley Berner of Johns Hopkins on Academic Quality, Educational Pluralism, & the Providence Public Schools

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Ashley Berner, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. 

Christensen Institute Co-founder Michael Horn on Digital Learning & COVID-19

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

The Institute for Justice's Tim Keller on Espinoza v. Montana DOR & ongoing school choice litigation

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Tim Keller, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing the plaintiffs in the high-profile Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court,.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on schooling during COVID-19 & lessons from teaching great Jaime Escalante

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist.

NC State's Anna Egalite on School Choice in America & Abroad

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Anna Egalite, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, about her experiences and research on K-12 education systems in her native Ireland, as well as America and India.

Kevin Chavous on the Promise & Potential of Quality School Choice Options

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kevin Chavous, President of Academics, Policy, and Schools of K12, Inc. about how to promote quality education options that meet the diverse needs of all kids.

Citizen Stewart on Changing the K-12 Education Power Structure

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard engage in a candid conversation about education policymaking with Citizen Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Brightbeam.

CREDO’s Macke Raymond on Charter Schools’ Quality & Growth

/
CREDO's Margaret “Macke” Raymond joins "The Learning Curve" this week to discuss charter school performance; the types of charters that are succeeding consistently and replicating; and the formula for quality both in instruction and policymaking.

Cato's Neal McCluskey on School Choice & Educational Federalism

/
This week on "The Learning Curve" podcast, Cara Candal welcomes new co-host Gerard Robinson and guest Neal McCluskey, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. They discuss America’s growing interest in school choice, and some of its many benefits.

Julie Young, Virtual Schooling Pioneer

/
Julie Young, CEO of ASU Prep Digital High School, joins The Learning Curve podcast this week to talk about the digital learning revolution.

Susan Wise Bauer on Classical Education & Homeschooling

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Bob Bowdon & guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Susan Wise Bauer, writer, historian, homeschool parent, and author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, as well as numerous other books.