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Can’t Contain My Excitement: Dougco Case Reaches Supreme Court Today

It’s days like today that bring home the fact little Eddie is sort of, well, unique. While I didn’t exactly hang my stocking by the chimney with care last night, or try to overcome insomnia with dreams of sugar plums (which are what exactly?), I have been looking forward to today with considerable excitement. Don’t get me wrong: Christmas will be great when it comes in a couple weeks, but there’s only one Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program hearing before the Colorado Supreme Court!

Today at 1:30 PM, to be exact. You can bet little Eddie and many of his bigger friends will be in the vicinity of Denver’s courthouse building. The Denver Post‘s Eric Gorski set the stage with an article earlier this week:

Oral arguments are set in a legal battle that began in 2011 after a newly elected conservative school board introduced a pilot voucher program in a wealthy county with strong public schools.

Opponents prevailed in Denver District Court in their initial legal challenge. But in February 2013, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the Choice Scholarship Program, setting the stage for a showdown before the state’s highest court.

The word “showdown” conjures up mental images of some of those old black-and-white cowboy films my Gramps likes to watch with me. I don’t suspect the pro-school choice lawyers will be wearing big white 10-gallon hats or carrying six-shooters. Nor will there be any High Noon-style, spur-clanking duels on the downtown sidewalks. Fortunately, that’s not the way we resolve things anymore.

But sometimes, the thought is tempting, just to get it over with already. It’s been nearly 3 and a half years since the lawsuit was first filed: Can you believe it? There’s another unique aspect about yours truly. I was 5 years old then, and am still 5 now. Go figure!

Anyway, for those trying to keep tally, the score currently stands at 1-1. The anti-choice faction won a demoralizing victory in Denver District Court, displacing several hundred students just as the school year was about to begin. But then the pro-school choice team rallied for a complete reversal in the Court of Appeals in February 2013.

The stakes loom large, as Gorski’s article notes:

If the high court affirms the district-level voucher program in Douglas County, it would open the door to others at districts statewide.

Many parents and school leaders around Colorado (even in some other states) are watching closely. A Supreme Court ruling supportive of the Dougco program could empower other school boards to look at crafting more expansive school choice options suitable to their respective communities.

So maybe now you see why I’m so excited today. It’s not just for my Education Policy Center friends and all their hard work — including their well received amicus brief. Nor is it even just the voices of Dougco parents speaking out for school choice, as Castle Rock dad Aaron Johnson’s Sunday Post op-ed powerfully represents.

Those are terrific reasons, but it’s even bigger than that. It’s the hope that a positive ruling sometime in 2015 could open doors and break down more barriers in parts of Colorado and beyond, giving students and families access to more educational options than ever before. Power to the students and the parents!

So please understand me, and don’t take this the wrong way, when I proclaim today: See you in Court!