School Choice & Charters

More Pushback on Oklahoma Special Education Vouchers

By Christina A. Samuels — October 15, 2010 1 min read
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Last week I blogged about school districts in Oklahoma who were refusing to comply with the state’s new special education voucher law. In this week’s issue, my colleague Mary Ann Zehr follows up on that issue, interviewing superintendents who are involved and the lawmaker who sponsored the voucher law.

Jason Nelson, the state representative who authored the law, criticized the defiant school districts for "violating the law." He said, "I think what is happening is that we've got schools that have an ideological opposition to what the legislation is. They don't like vouchers." ... Lisa Muller, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and school improvement for the Jenks school district, said that in addition to concerns about the mismatch between the state constitution and the new law, Jenks officials are concerned that private schools are not obliged by federal law, as public school districts are, to honor the individualized education program, or IEP, of a student with a disability. "Our concern is that many parents may not understand the protections they are giving up by requesting these scholarships," she said.

A reader who commented on the article noted that she knows full well what protections she would give up to enroll her child in private school—she just feels that the letter of the law hasn’t meant a better education for her child. Are the school districts wrong for not allowing the parents to “vote with their feet?”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.