49. Voucher Scholarship Program, Constitutional?
   Supreme Court Uphold

Shoji Sugita
    I will describe some key points of the U.S. Court of Appeals' decison on Voucher Scholarship
    Program in Cleveland, Ohio and some movements of it, afterwards.

T Simmons-Harris v. Zelman
            Decided and Filed: December 11, 2000
● In 1995, Ohio's General Assembly adopted the Ohio Pilot Project Scholarship Program
  ("voucher program" or "the program") in response to an order by the United States District
  Court that placed the Cleveland School District under the direct management and supervision
  of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction due to mismanagement by the local school

● The voucher program covers any state school district that has been the subject of a
  federal court order "requiring supervision and operational management of the district by the
  state superintendent."  The program provides scholarships to children residing within the
  applicable district in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.
  The program gives "preference to students from low-income families," defining them as those
  whose families' income is less than 200% of the poverty line.

●  "Scholarships may be awarded to students who are not from low-income families only
  if all students from low-income failies have been given first consideration for placement."
  Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, Administration Procedures Manual, Over sixty
  percent of the children receiving scholarships in the program are from families with incomes
  at or below the poverty line.

●  The voucher program pays scholarships according to family income. The program requires
  participating private schools to cap tuition at $2500 per student per year and pays 90% of
  whatever tuition the school actually charges for low-income families; for other families,
  the State pays 75% of the school's tuition up to a maximum of $1875.

● Each scholarship for children attending a private school is
  payable to the parents of the student entitled to the scholarship. Ohio Rev. Code ァ 3313.979.
  Scholarship checks are mailed to the school selected by the parents, where the parents are
  required to endorse the checks over to the school in order to pay tuition.

●  Schools wishing to be designated as program participants eligible to enroll scholarship
  students must register with the voucher program. Private schools located within the boundaries
  of the Cleveland school district which meet the State's educational standards may participate.

●  Schools are required to follow the program's
  priority rules regarding the placement of students and may not discriminate on the basis of
  race, religion, or ethnic background; advocate or foster unlawful behavior; or teach hatred of
  any person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.
●  For the 1999-2000 school year, 3,761 students enrolled in the program; 60% of the enrollees
  are from families at or below the poverty level. Of these, 3,632 (96%) are enrolled in sectarian

● At one time in the course of the program, as many as 22% of the students enrolled in the
  program attended nonreligious schools. During the 1999-2000 school year, fifty-six schools
  registered to participate in the program; forty-six (82%) are church-affiliated. Program monies
  may be used by the participating schools for whatever purpose they deem appropriate; the
  voucher program does not place restrictions on the use of funds made available under the

●  The sectarian schools vary in their religious affiliation and approaches; however, the
  handbooks and mission statements of these schools reflect that most believe in interweaving
  religious beliefs with secular subjects. The sectarian schools also follow religious guidelines,
  including instruction in religion
●  On May 27, 1999, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a judgment in favor of Plaintiffs, holding
  that he 1995 voucher program had been enacted in violation of the one-subject rule of the
  Ohio Constitution

●  On August 24, 1999, the same day that the district court granted Plaintiffs' motion for a
  preliminary  injunction, the State and the two intervening Defendants appealed that decision
  to this Court
●  On November 29, 1999, the district court denied Intervenor Taylor's motion to have the
  following question certified to the Ohio Supreme Court: "Does Ohio law give preclusive effect
  to the resolution of the Establishment Clause claim in Simmons-Harris v. Goff, 711 N.E.2d
  203 (Ohio 1999)?"

● The district court granted Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on December 20, 1999,
  finding that the voucher program violated the Establishment Clause; enjoined
We recognize the importance of this case and the precedential value it espouses. Equally as
important, we are aware of the critical nature of questions of educational policy, and the need to
establish successful schools and academic programs for children.

We find, however, that even more important is the need to uphold the Constitution of the United
States and, in this case, to override the State of Ohio's statutory scheme where it constitutes an
impermissible infringement under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

We therefore AFFIRM the district court's order finding the school voucher program
as well as the court's determination that Plaintiffs are not collaterally estopped.
U Afterwards
On December 11. 2000, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has
struck down the Cleveland Scholarship Program, however, on September 25, 2001, the Supreme
Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of it. A timetable for the hearing has
not been set, but it is expected the case will be heard in early 2002.
● The Supreme Court's decision to review the constitutionality of school choice is extraordinary.
  In a time marked by unbelievable tragedy, this decision provides a ray of hope to thousands for
  whom education is their only ticket to a happy and productive life.

 In Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and the state of Florida, some courageous
  lawmakers have tried to change that.

     ( Sources: The Center for Education Reform; BREAKING NEWS & STATEMENT )
     【NOTE】 Writ of Certiorari
   There is not any voucher scholarship program in Japan now and may be very few in the future.
    Particularly the educational levels of public schools in their school local districts are better than
    those of private ones. However " School Choice Today" is important for their parents, so they had
    better adopt a new way for their children to be able to move to other public schools more freely.
In December, 2001, described

In addition ( July 1, 2002 )  
Supreme Court Upholds Cleveland Voucher Program
              Cited from EDUCATION WEEK, June 27, 2002 by Mark Walsh
Cleveland's state-enacted school voucher program does not violate the U.S.
Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision.
At 10:23 A.M. on June 27, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist began announcing the
court's decision, its final one of the 2001-02 term. The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring
Program "is entirely neutral with respect to religion," he said.

"It provides benefits directly to a wide spectrum of individuals, defined only by financial need and
residence in a particular school district," he added. "It permits such individuals to exercise genuine
choice among options public and private, secular and religious. The program is therefore a program
of true private choice." He was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia,
Anthony M. Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.

Justice David H. Souter read a summary of the main dissent from the bench. The
majority's decision was "a major devaluation of the establishment clause," he said in a reference to
the First Amendment's prohibition against a government establishment of religion. The ruling is
"potentially tragic," he added. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader
Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer
● More cited from SUPREME COURT Opinions as the followings,
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the sixth circuit
Held:The program does not offend the Establishment Clause.
(a)Because the program was enacted for the valid secular purpose of providing educational assistance
  to poor children in a demonstrably failing public school system,
(b)The instant program is one of true private choice, consistent with the Mueller line of cases, and thus
  constitutional. It is neutral in all respects towards religion, and is part of Ohios general and
   multifaceted undertaking to provide educational opportunities to children in a failed school district.

( Comments ) As for the Decision, however, there would be surely some disagreements with the
        voucers that the public schools in their country are somewhat successful in mixing people
        from many races, ethnicities, etc. into a somewhat whole population. Vouchers will
        resegregate society as people send their children to be with people just like them in race,
        religion, ethnic background, etc. In addition, some voucher money will end up going to people
         who a making  a profit...in terms of children. At present, this is not assured