| October 9, 2013
Do government officials know better than parents?
“To challenge an Oklahoma law providing scholarships to children with special needs, plaintiffs in a new lawsuit are embracing government hubris and paternalism at its worst,” The Oklahoman noted yesterday in an excellent editorial.
Their lawsuit's core argument is this: Government officials know better how to care for most children than their parents do.
The lawsuit, filed by 12 individuals in their capacity as private citizens (although six are current or former school administrators), seeks to have the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships law declared unconstitutional. The law, in effect since 2010, allows the use of state funds (already designated for the individual education of children with special needs) to be used to pay tuition at a private school.
In their petition, the plaintiffs claim that only six of 49 participating private schools “provide comprehensive special education services to their enrolled students and none provide the full panoply of special education services provided by the public schools of this state.”
This raises a basic question. If public school services are so superior (Wow — a “full panoply”!), then why are families choosing to leave? The experience of Phylicia Lewis, who used her scholarship to attend Town & Country in Tulsa, provides an answer. Lewis compared her public school to “walking into a battlefield.” She was bullied and spent her days crying. Now, she's thriving. Her mother calls it a “joy to know that Phylicia doesn't have to worry about whether or not she can receive an education.”
Phylicia isn’t the only Henry Scholarship student who is now thriving. I encourage you to learn about others in the brief video below, and to read The Oklahoman’s editorial here.