Why school choice is needed more than ever in Kentucky

Trinity Christian Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, is one of 351 private schools in the state serving more than 67,000 students. Trinity Christian prides itself on its Christ-centered classical curriculum and a low student-to-teacher ratio, existing to provide an “excellent classical education for the glory of Christ and the good of the Bluegrass.”

Editor’s note: This commentary appeared Thursday on courier-journal.com.

Two major educational events took place over the past week. First, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the lawsuit seeking to block educational choice in Kentucky.

And, the Kentucky Department of Education released standardized test scores for Kentucky public schools from spring 2022. As expected, they reflect a staggering decline in core subjects like reading and math.

Both news events illustrate the urgency for expanding education options in Kentucky.

The issue before the Kentucky Supreme Court is whether the Education Opportunity Account Act is permissible under the state constitution. The EOA Act encourages private donations to nonprofit scholarship programs to help families with educational expenses, ranging from textbooks, technology and tutoring to private school tuition.

Donors who give to the program receive a state tax credit in return for their contribution.

Opponents claim this is the same as spending public dollars on nonpublic schools. But tax credit funded educational choice programs have been on the books for decades in other states.

From the U.S. Supreme Court down to every state supreme court that has heard a similar challenge, no lawsuit seeking to strike down a tax credit funded educational choice program has ever succeeded.

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BY Special to NextSteps