There is no constitutional barrier prohibiting school choice in Texas according to a legal opinion issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“Texas parents should have the right to choose the best school for their kids, and every Texas child deserves the opportunity to attend a good, safe school where they can learn and thrive,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Today I issued a legal opinion which informs the Texas Legislature that there are no constitutional barriers to enacting school choice in Texas. It’s time to empower Texas parents and provide additional educational opportunities so every Texas child can reach their dreams.”
Requested by State Senator Brandon Creighton, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Paxton’s opinion states that Education Savings Account (“ESA”) programs do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ESAs can offer parents and students a better educational experience by providing them with education assistance payments that can be directed to public and private schools, including sectarian schools. ESAs can provide parents with a choice to ensure that all students, regardless of income or zip code, can receive a world class education in Texas.
Paxton also determined that two provisions in the Texas Constitution—known as Blaine Amendments—that could exclude religious schools from receiving ESA program funds violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Accordingly, any law, action, or policy implemented to comply with them is unconstitutional.
To read the full opinion, click here.