New Report Highlights Nearly 30,000 Students with Special Needs Participating in Private School Choice Programs

New Report Highlights Nearly 30,000 Students with Special Needs Participating in Private School Choice Programs

School choice programs tailored for children with special needs offer educational options to families in eight states

Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2012)—Nearly 30,000 students with special needs are participating in 10 publicly funded private school choice programs designed for children with special needs in eight states, according to The Promise of Special Needs Scholarships, released today by the Alliance for School Choice.

The Promise of Special Needs Scholarships chronicles the stories of eight families whose lives have been transformed by special needs scholarship programs.

Among the amazing students who have their stories profiled are:

  • Lexie, an Arizona student with autism, cerebral palsy, and mild mental retardation, who attends private school thanks to a law named in her honor.  Lexie’s mom recounts how Lexie has learned to understand and use sign language.
  • Eric, a young man with an auditory process disorder, who is one of nearly 23,000 students thriving thanks to the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program in Florida.
  • Carson, the namesake of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship, who can now tell his parents that he loves them.
  • Aaron, an Arizona student with autism who participates in Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarships Accounts Program, where Aaron’s parents use his education dollars to attend a specialized private school.

In addition to profiling students and families that participate in special needs school choice programs, The Promise of Special Needs Scholarshipsfeatures the nation’s premiere data on the growth of enrollment, momentum of programs and legislative initiatives, and increasingly strong accountability standards.

“As school choice programs continue to help thousands of families across the nation, children with special needs are becoming an increasingly large pool of its beneficiaries,” said Malcom Glenn, national director of communications for the Alliance. “Support for special needs programs, including the three that were enacted last year, is broad and growing each day, and we’ll see even more support as people learn just how these programs are transforming the lives of children.”

School choice programs specifically designed for children with special needs exist in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah, with Arizona and Ohio each operating two programs.  In total, 10 programs serve 29,158 students.

Download a copy of The Promise of Special Needs Scholarships here.