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Paying the Voucher Bills

Jeff at So You Want to be a Science Teacher does an excellent job of responding to ReformK12’s claim that a Colorado plan to provide vouchers for special education students would not siphon off students with mild disabilities leaving behind those students with the greatest (and most expensive) needs in the public schools. Jeff’s research found a similar plan at work in Florida that did indeed leave the students with the greatest needs behind.

When I posted my voucher questions last week I neglected the fact that the voucher amount given students to take to private schools is usually the average cost per student. As Jeff points out, in most systems, the cost of educating a child with some kind of disability is higher, sometimes much higher. Another factor at play here are several federal laws which require public schools to provide extra "accommodations" outside of the classroom for many special education students (also underfunded by Congress, incidentally). I doubt many private schools would be willing to subsidize these extras and those schools that specialize in working with students with disabilities often have higher tuition, sometimes much higher, than a typical voucher amount.

1 Comment

  1. aschoolyardblogger

    I posted about Colorado a while back. I reread the post and I was truly ranting. http://aschoolyardblog.typepad.com/asyb/2004/01/i_am_concerned_.html The politian in Colorado who is sponsoring the vouchers for the handicapped is the same person, who in school board member’s hat told me the research on smaller high schools being more successful wasn’t as important as the numbers required for the 5A sports arena and the fact kids would have better chances at Big 12 recruiting. I have a friend who has a developmentally handicapped son and there is no school in Colorado where you could take a voucher for a better education for him. If this version of vouchers passes in Colorado it will stall any momentum voucher proponents have because the general population here will consider the case closed. I have thought it over, and even though I am not necessarily proud of my voucher post, I will stand by it.

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