Parental choice in Oklahoma suffered an unfortunate setback on Tuesday, as a Tulsa County judge ruled that the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program is unconstitutional. The scholarship program, which allows any Oklahoma student with a disability to use public funds to attend a private school, currently serves 149 children in the state.
Not surprisingly, reaction to Judge Rebecca Nightingale’s ruling was deeply divided. Tulsa Union Superintendent Cathy Burden praised the decision, arguing that the students with special needs had really been “used as a pawn to try and get a voucher system started.” Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Nelson, who authored the original bill, questioned the motives behind the school districts’ opposition. “It’s not about religion….It’s not about what’s best for these children.” Instead, he claimed, “It’s about power and money with these school districts.
The ruling will be appealed to Oklahoma’s Supreme Court.