Emory Law Journal


Claire Raj


The landscape of public education, once thought to be a core function of the state, is shifting towards privatization with the expansion of vouchers and tax credits that use public dollars to fund private school tuition. This Article focuses on the impacts of such programs on students with disabilities. It argues that voucher legislation, as applied to students with disabilities, violates two principles of constitutional law: the unconstitutional conditions doctrine and equal protection. The unconstitutional conditions doctrine limits government¿s authority to require individuals to forgo their rights in exchange for a gratuitous benefit. Vouchers cross those limits, coercing students into accepting a restriction of significant rights to escape failing public schools. Voucher programs, motivated by a desire to eliminate the costs and burdens associated with educating students with disabilities, stumble into an equal protection problem because they target students with disabilities for disadvantage without sufficient justification.