It’s official now: presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to attach federal Title I and IDEA dollars to individual students, according to his remarks in Washington on Wednesday and his “A Chance for Every Child” plan for reforming education.
The proposal would give low-income students and students with disabilities the chance to pick which school they attend from among regular public schools, charter schools, and private schools, in states where that would be allowed by state law. (This is what my colleague Alyson Klein and I guessed from another document the Romney camp was circulating over the weekend.) Students could also use the money to pay for tutoring or online classes.
But it appears Romney didn’t consult with special education advocacy groups before making his pitch. While special education vouchers have grown in popularity in recent years, the number of programs is small, and the number of participants is also tiny.
WASHINGTON—Presumptive GOP nominee Gov. Mitt Romney called today for making federal funding for special education and disadvantaged students portable—meaning the money would follow students to any school their parents choose, including a private school.
Under his proposal, parents could also choose to use the funds under Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act at charter schools, for online courses, or for tutoring. Title I is funded at $14.5 billion this year, and IDEA is funded at $11.6 billion, and any proposal to radically shift the use of that money would be almost certain to face a host of administrative, budgetary, and political hurdles from the Congress and statehouses on down.
Romney, who unveiled his education agenda at the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit in Washington Wednesday, is also calling for an expansion of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, which President Barack Obama has sought to eliminate. He would also make it easier for high-quality charter schools to expand, a position that the Obama administration has also embraced.
via Romney Calls for Using Title I, IDEA Funds for School Choice.