Alaska’s various correspondence school programs help families meet the unique educational needs of their children in a variety of ways. In January 2023, however, a lawsuit was filed challenging the correspondence program policy of allowing families to spend some of the money on private educational options. Concerned parents, with help from the public-interest law firm, Institute for Justice, (IJ), have intervened to defend this program in court.
On April 13, the Alaska Policy Forum is hosting a free public webinar with and IJ attorneys Kirby West and David Hodges for a presentation and Q&A about the pending case against Alaska’s correspondence programs.
Currently, Alaska families with students enrolled in an approved state correspondence program can use their child’s annual allotment to homeschool and/or pay for private instruction, including non-religious classes or services provided by private schools. These allotments are roughly between $2,000 and $4,000 annually, depending on the program.
Many parents choose this route as a way to avoid struggling public schools, and to ensure their children receive a quality education.
The National Education Association-funded lawsuit aims to bar families from using their allotments for non-religious educational services or expenses at private or religious schools.
Given that many Alaskans are worried about this legal threat, the main purpose of the April 13 webinar is to let families ask questions of the attorneys. The webinar begins at 7 p.m. Click here to guarantee a spot in the upcoming conversation.
About the guest speakers
— Kirby West is an attorney at the Institute for Justice. Before joining IJ in 2018, Kirby was a litigation associate at Baker Botts LLP. She clerked for Judge Dennis Shedd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Kirby earned her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 2015. While at Harvard, she served as the Articles Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Between her first and second years of law school, Kirby clerked at IJ’s Texas office.
— David Hodges is an attorney on IJ’s Educational Choice Team. David defends educational choice programs in court and heads IJ’s efforts to enact educational choice laws. He was also a member of the IJ team that successfully argued the landmark educational choice case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue before the United States Supreme Court. Prior to joining IJ, David cofounded the Governor’s STEM Scholars, an educational nonprofit program, and worked for Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer. Following law school, he worked at the law firm Winston & Strawn.