By Christina Samuels
Some parents of students with disabilities see a clear benefit to voucher programs to escape public schools that are a poor fit, even though the vouchers rarely pay the full cost of private school tuition and, in some cases, accepting one means giving up rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The Council for Parent Attorneys and Advocates, a group that supports the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities, surveyed the landscape of voucher and other school choice programs in a June 8 report called School Vouchers and Students with Disabilities: Impact in the Name of Choice. (COPAA has organized a panel on the report for Congressional staffers that I am moderating.)
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice says that 11 states have voucher programs that are explicitly for students with disabilities, or that include students with disabilities among other targeted student groups (for example, students in schools deemed to be failing, or from low-income families). They are: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin.