Vitale plaintiffs: Lack of school choice for some violates a child’s rights

Vitale v. Bellows Falls Union High School is a case currently before the Vermont Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs argued on Nov. 9, 2022, that allowing some parents the ability to choose the best school that fits the needs of their child under Vermont’s “tuitioning” system, while forcing other families to accept a government chosen school based on geography, is a violation of the individual child’s right to equal access to educational opportunity under the Brigham decision.

Currently, school choice via “tuitioning” is available to students/parents in over 90 of Vermont’s 251 towns. The rest are excluded.

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2 thoughts on “Vitale plaintiffs: Lack of school choice for some violates a child’s rights

  1. Let me see if I understand; The government collects resources from us. They control these resources and offer us a monolithic schooling enterprise branded as “education”. We frequently have a “gee no thanks, not what we were looking for” response.. But they’ve already spent our resources for this limited menu organization. So the parents must actually petition the government to release their money to buy the education services they might want for their kids. Is that about it? Wouldn’t’ it be more responsive to constituent needs to set the collected moneys aside in parental accounts to be dispensed as they want?

  2. This BFUHS circumstance demonstrates the Vermont public education monopoly’s unconstitutional governance as well as any. There are four towns that make up the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union school district. They are Westminster, Athens, Grafton, and Rockingham. Only Rockingham provides a 7th & 8th grade program. Westminster, Athens, and Grafton parents can use the State’s Average Annual Tuition voucher to choose whatever program, public or independent, in-state, or out-of-state, they feel best meets the needs of their children. This includes parochial schools. Rockingham parents cannot. Clearly, this governance not only abridges Vermont’s Brigham decision, it offends the first amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion and the 14th amendment’s equal protection criteria, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

    The Vermont Supreme Court really has no option but to allow Rockingham parents to use the tuition voucher to choose the school they feel best serves the interest of their children too. OTOH, we’ve seen supreme courts make bogus decisions before in this regard. One need only refer to the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1858.

    The public-school monopoly affronts more than our constitution. Its anti-competitive governance offends the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts as well. But these obvious infringements aren’t stopping what some of our state legislators have in mind – which is to prohibit any public funding of independent education alternatives. None the less, this legislative maneuver will circumvent every tenant of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).

    So, buckle your seatbelts folks. One way or the other, Vermont’s Supreme Court Justices are going to make someone angry

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