The Promise of Special Education Vouchers

Few public policies have as much potential upside as special-education vouchers. These growing programs offer a public-school system’s neediest students access to a high-quality education without their having to file lawsuits in order to get it. Both theory and empirical research suggest that these policies benefit students who remain in public schools, while also helping to slow the unnatural, almost certainly erroneous, and potentially damaging increase in the diagnosis of disabilities. The substantial increase in school-voucher programs this year demonstrates that there is renewed interest in helping families send their children to the schools of their choice. As more and more states seek ways to increase options for students, legislatures would do well to give special-education vouchers a serious look.

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