Plain Dealer: hold off on special ed vouchers [update: well, no; my bad]

I hate when we don’t agree. And less pleasing still is this morning’s story by Aaron Marshall with help from Mark Naymik about the budget bill as it looks today: no mention of the special ed voucher fate. Come on.

As for the editorial: it instructs the governor to study studies and implies that he allow for “targeted research” – read: pilot project funding, of special education voucher programs before making a decision regarding the Ohio budget bill’s proposal. Considering studies is fine, but then, the editorial tells him which decision to make: support the pilot project.

My guess is that the special ed voucher language is in the bill and that Strickland will have to line-item veto it if he doesn’t want it.

Here’s the PD making its case:

Strickland, whose wife worked as an educational psychologist, should endorse this proposal for more than humanitarian concern for the children who would participate. He should recognize that the experiment would provide a marvelous opportunity for the entire state to improve its programs for students with cognitive or emotional obstacles to learning. Targeted research on those programs could allow educators to discover new, more effective ways to reach children – and then spread knowledge about these best practices statewide.

Governor, don’t make this issue partisan. Forget about backlash from public education unions. What’s important here is helping children reach their potential. This concept deserves your support.

Yet these reasons explain why the special ed voucher proposal needs to be removed from the budget: if what’s important here, as the PD editors write, is helping children reach their potential, then those millions of dollars, not currently ANYWHERE in Ohio’s education system, should be going to all Ohio children, through the schools, to help them – as need is determined on a per child basis. Not only for special ed kids and not directly to parents who, as the editorial indicates, may not even know the best choices, let alone make the best choices.

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