Children with special needs would be eligible to receive a voucher toward tuition at a private school under a controversial Georgia bill awaiting Gov. Sonny Perdue’s signature.
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act, which is modeled after Florida’s McKay Scholarship program, would provide roughly $9,000 to parents whose children already have been diagnosed with certain physical, emotional, or learning disabilities.
The governor, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill, and supporters say the plan would give parents more options.
Both the Georgia Association of Educators, an affiliate of the National Education Association, and the nonunion Professional Association of Georgia Educators have voiced opposition to the plan, calling it a step in the direction of vouchers for all students.
Kevin Pearson, a spokesman for the GAE, said the bill would “provide private schools the opportunity to get taxpayer dollars, pick the students they want to serve—all without accountability for the education they provide to special-needs students.”
The proposal has also encountered some skepticism from members of the special education community, who say that children with disabilities would lose certain rights provided under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2007 edition of Education Week