Statement

Southern Education Foundation President Praises Kentucky Court for Ruling School Voucher Law Unconstitutional 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Gretchen Wright, gwright@southerneducation.org, (202) 421-5830

October 8, 2021 (Atlanta, Georgia) — The Southern Education Foundation released the following statement from its President and CEO regarding a ruling from the Franklin Circuit Court in Kentucky declaring unconstitutional a law to implement a school voucher program that would divert public education funds to private schools:

In Council for Better Education v. Johnson, the Kentucky trial court ruled that House Bill 563 which would have established Kentucky’s first private school voucher program violates the state’s constitution. This is a clear victory for public education, for education equity, and for Kentucky students and their families.

Earlier this year, the Southern Education Foundation joined five other organizations in filing an amicus brief opposing the school voucher law. In that brief, we noted that the law violates Kentucky’s Constitution by undermining the state’s ability to equally provide a high-quality education to all students.

Instead of increasing educational outcomes for students, this law would have increased inequity and decreased funding available for public schools. Moreover, there is no evidence that school vouchers improve student achievement outcomes, although they do contribute to economic and educational segregation because they do not cover the full cost of tuition, leaving many students behind.

We at the Southern Education Foundation are encouraged by the Kentucky court’s ruling and we urge the appeals court to let this ruling stand.

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Originally founded in 1867 to educate Black children and children from low-income families in the South, the Southern Education Foundation also has a long history of developing leaders in education and was a pivotal source of research and data to support legislation and litigation aimed at fighting inequity in education during the civil rights era. The organization today conducts leadership development, research, and advocacy to improve educational opportunities for low-income students and students of color and achieve educational equity in the Southern U.S. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Find out more at https://southerneducation.org