The military families who supported a voucher for military dependents with special needs must have been stung when President Obama signed the defense bill in December without that provision.
The pilot program, tucked into the massive $726 billion defense bill, would have started in the 2011-2012 school year and provided vouchers of up to $7,500 a year. Supporters of the vouchers say that the current rules and regulations set by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act don’t work well for military familiies, who must constantly fight for services as they move among bases and school districts. They believed the voucher program would have given them a much-needed option.
Though the provision is gone, the bill did authorize a study of the unique concerns facing military families who have children in special education. And just yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced what it plans to do to assist military families as part of a new Obama administration initiative, including making military-family support a supplemental priority for department grant programs.
I doubt this initiative signals that the department will come out in favor of vouchers, but it may give a little push to the study that was just authorized.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.