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State explores special education vouchers

Education is meant to evolve. Certainly, many lessons that children and teens are exposed to are ultimately taught in much the same way they have been for centuries. For example, when children are taught to write, they are given writing utensils and they mimic images of letters until they perfect them. However, other forms of education evolve as the times evolve. Nowadays, many children are taught on desktop computers, laptops and even tablets. None of these devices were in classrooms when their grandparents were in school.

Because education is meant to evolve with the times, it is of little wonder that states and districts are continuing to experiment with the ways in which children learn. Currently, one southern state is considering a bill entitled The Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act. This bill, which would grant vouchers to the parents of children with special needs, is drawing both praise and criticism from individuals within and outside of the state.

Specifically, the bill would grant up to 500 school vouchers for children who have special educational needs. Each voucher is worth $7,000 and may be used by parents who wish to withdraw their children from public school and enroll them in private schools with superior special education programs. Understandably, supporters of the bill are excited about providing students with a superior education, while detractors are concerned that vouchers provided to a handful of students will take away money needed to fix the special education program in public schools.

Debates like this one are likely to continue well into the future. As states and districts question how to best educate children with special needs, controversial ideas are bound to arise from time to time.

Source: The Clarion-Ledger, “Special-ed voucher bill passes Senate Ed Committee,” Emily Le Coz, Jan. 27, 2015

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