MIDLAND, Mich. — The federal Western District Court of Michigan has dismissed the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s challenge to Michigan’s Blaine Amendment. Three out of the four claims were dismissed on technical grounds, while the court ruled on the merits of a fourth.
The Mackinac Center first filed the case in September 2021 on behalf of five families who hoped to use funds saved through the Michigan Education Savings Program to help pay for private educational opportunities, including private school tuition. Unfortunately, a discriminatory provision in the Michigan Constitution informally known as the Blaine Amendment undermines those families’ ability to use those funds.
“Watching your kids suffer the consequences caused by forced remote learning is something no parent should ever have to experience,” said Jessie Bagos, mother of two and Mackinac Center client. “But not all families have the financial means to send their kids elsewhere. Families deserve options. We are disappointed that the court did not recognize this important need, but we will continue fighting to make sure that all students have access to the educational options that best fit their needs.”
Michigan’s Blaine Amendment, enacted in 1970, is the most restrictive in the country. The amendment prohibits the use of any public funds to support families who choose private educational opportunities.
“The recent collapse in test scores highlights the necessity of providing parental choice,” said Patrick J. Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “It is disappointing that the Blaine amendment, which was enacted with hostility towards Catholic schools, remains an impediment to parents accessing the best educational option for their children.”
Legal options are being reviewed, but an appeal is likely.
The decision can be found here.
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