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Gatton v. Goff
On Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas for Franklin County, Ohio (1996)


Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization, has a long history of advocating on behalf of governmental policies designed to provide needy parents a genuine opportunity to choose the school setting most appropriate for their particular child.

Such advocacy admittedly reflects Agudath Israel's concern for many of its own constituents, who struggle mightily and sacrifice heroically to send their children to Jewish day schools so that they will learn not only reading, writing and arithmetic, but also about the Jewish people's history, culture and faith. But Agudath Israel's advocacy also reflects its broader concern for the educational and moral welfare of countless American children whose interests are not being well-served by the existing public educational establishment, and who would benefit enormously if only their parents could afford to do what their wealthier neighbors are already doing -- enroll their children in schools of their own choosing.

Agudath Israel is therefore deeply interested in the outcome of this case. This is one of the first instances in the United States in which an expansive school choice program, encompassing a broad array of educational options, has been adopted by a State's elected officials as a means of addressing the serious problems faced by urban schoolchildren. Agudath Israel believes the program should be given a chance to work. A decision for the appellants/plaintiffs, particularly on federal constitutional grounds -- which is the one area of focus of this brief -- could have a harmful impact on underserved public school children not only in Cleveland, but across the land. This, in Agudath Israel's view, would be nothing short of a tragedy.

It is for this reason that Agudath Israel submitted a brief as amicus curiae in support of defendants in the court below, and respectfully does so again on this appeal.


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