Mississippi lawmakers are considering a bill that would make the state the 14th to offer private-school vouchers to students with disabilities. Some special-education advocacy groups oppose the bill, saying voucher programs reduce accountability and oversight. Supporters say such programs expand opportunities for students with disabilities.
Schools are moving toward inclusive models for educating students with disabilities, said Thomas Hehir, former director the Education Department's Office of Special Education Programs, in a radio interview. He said schools should focus on positive teaching methods that look for what students are capable of doing. "There are lots of success stories of students with disabilities, of school districts that have engaged in effective, inclusive practices for kids," said Hehir, a professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education.
Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White is calling for a state investigation into claims that low-income students and students with disabilities are being systematically excluded from some charter schools in the district. Charter officials say the allegations are false, and education officials say they will review the information provided by White.
A bill under consideration in Arizona's state Senate would negatively affect some young students with autism and other disabilities, some parents and educators say. Proposed legislation would drastically reduce the number of individuals covered under the state's health insurance plan, which helps about 70% of families at one private facility afford tuition and treatments. "We talk about budget cuts, and cuts that need to be made, why do we always come back to the people who need it the most?" said Margaret Travillion, founder and director of Lauren's Institute for Education.
Michael Gordon earns good grades at his Maryland school despite his major learning disabilities but is unlikely to pass state exit exams, his mother says, which she fears will keep him from landing a good job. But school leaders say that the exams force educators to pay more attention to helping students and increases the standards for under-achieving students.