Education Savings Accounts: Advancing Choice in States with Blaine Amendments | The Heritage Foundation

In September 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld education savings accounts (ESAs) as constitutional in the Silver State. ESAs are distinct from other parental choice mechanisms in education, especially K–12 private-school vouchers. Other options only enable parents to choose the school for their children—something which, in the case of vouchers, opponents have argued constitutes state aid to religious institutions because some children attend religious schools. Teachers unions and other associations have used this argument in court, citing so-called Blaine amendments in state constitutions to block vouchers. Blaine amendments are state constitutional provisions that prohibit public funds from flowing to private religious institutions.Both research and legal precedent demonstrate that the ability to direct ESA funds to multiple education services and products separates ESAs from school vouchers. This is a critical distinction for states to recognize when considering parental choice options. Blaine amendments to state constitutions, such as the provisions in the Arizona and Nevada constitutions, have an ignoble history and should be repealed. Moreover, the distinctive policy design of ESAs makes the accounts well-positioned to withstand legal challenges based on Blaine amendments.

Source: Education Savings Accounts: Advancing Choice in States with Blaine Amendments | The Heritage Foundation