A couple of weeks ago, Brewed Fresh Daily hosted this lengthy thread about something that the original post called a special education scholarship. Read it completely if you’re interested in understanding pro and con perspectives.
Now, I’m not certain if those scholarships are the same as the special ed vouchers in Pho’s good post with good links here, regarding today’s passage in the senate committee responsible for the budget bill and how special ed vouchers are back in. (Gov. Strickland wanted them eliminated and he can still do so with a line item veto.) But, this information (under Item #3, about halfway through that item) from the OAAE (Ohio Alliance for Arts Education) seems to indicate that the scholarships are exactly the same thing as the vouchers in HB 119.
Even if they aren’t, I have to believe that they are related or at least supported by the same groups. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but basically, “voucher” replaces the word “scholarship.”
What do I think? I need to pow-wow with OPEN (Orange Parents Education Network) board and members to hear more about their opinions on this.
But off the top of my head:
If kids on IEPs get vouchers simply because they’re on an IEP, then all gifted kids on WEPs should get them too, with nothing more than the WEP. In fact, they deserve those vouchers even more because currently, educating gifted kids in any school continues to be one of the largest if not the largest unfunded mandate in education, period. (largest in terms of number of people affected as well as the money that must be found elsewhere if the statutes are to be followed)
Kids on IEPs have access to billions of dollars worth of assistance through the federal government alone (more than $10 billion in FY 2007 according to information in that link). Gifted kids? President Bush has tried to kill off the lousy $11 million for the Javits money every single year of his presidency. And it appears he succeeded this year.
There’s a story I can’t tell about making someone pay twice if they want to do something they know isn’t really okay, if we’re all going to say that we play by the same rules. Funding “scholarships” for kids whose education is already covered by the feds, in addition to the state and local government, should not happen unless we’re going to okay the exact same provisions for “scholarships” for kids whose education – gifted – is not covered by anyone.