Special Education Letter to the Editor

Autism-Program Study Is Said to Be Flawed

April 22, 2008 1 min read

To the Editor:

While research on autism is to be commended, the Policy Matters Ohio study of the Autism Scholarship Program exhibits some serious flaws (“Analysis Criticizes Ohio Vouchers Targeting Students With Autism,” April 2, 2008).

The study fails to uncover even obvious reasons for the observations of its author, Piet van Lier. For example, it criticizes the scholarship program for paying for services in a nonschool setting. But when approximately half of the scholarship recipients are preschoolers who need effective early intervention, why should they necessarily be in a classroom setting before they’re of school age?

Likewise, in the rush to identify potential “inequities,” the study fails to look meaningfully at whether these students’ individual learning needs are being met more effectively because of the scholarship program. High parental-satisfaction rates and a yearly participation-growth rate of 50 percent suggest that students are in fact succeeding because of this program.

The study rightly recognizes the need to boost teacher training in public schools. But improving them can be done without blasting the other options available. Criticizing a private educational option has never improved a public school. But, as one parent points out in your article, this scholarship and the competition it has fostered have actually helped motivate public schools to improve their offerings for students with autism.

The Autism Scholarship Program is a step in the right direction because it empowers parents of students with autism and levels the playing field so that families across the economic spectrum can have access to appropriate services for their children.

Rather than offer fewer choices to students with autism, Ohio should work to make this opportunity available to all children with disabilities.

Chad L. Aldis

Executive Director

School Choice Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

A version of this article appeared in the April 23, 2008 edition of Education Week as Autism-Program Study Is Said to Be Flawed

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Special Education Schools Struggled to Serve Students With Disabilities, English-Learners During Shutdowns
The needs of students with IEPs and English-language learners were not often met after the pandemic struck, says a federal report.
3 min read
Young boy wearing a mask shown sheltering at home looking out a window with a stuffed animal.
Special Education How Will Schools Pay for Compensatory Services for Special Ed. Students?
States’ efforts so far suggest there won’t be enough money to go around for all the learning losses of students with disabilities from COVID-19 school shutdowns.
8 min read
student struggling blue IMG
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Special Education Whitepaper
Dyslexia: How to Identify Warning Signs at Every Grade
Read the new whitepaper by Dr. Pamela Hook to learn how to recognize the warning signs of dyslexia at different grade levels.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
Special Education Bridging Distance for Learners With Special Needs
The schooling services that English-language learners and students with disabilities receive don’t always translate well to remote learning. Here’s how schools can help.
9 min read
Special IMG