Arizona’s largest teachers’ union and the state’s school boards association filed suit last week over a new scholarship program that pays private school tuition for children with disabilities.
The program, created earlier this year, allows parents of children with disabilities to sign up for an “empowerment scholarship” that pays for tuition, tutoring, online courses, classes at home, or college classes while they are still in high school. Or parents can save the money and students can use it to attend college full time after graduation. Each account is worth 90 percent of what a public school would have received to educate a particular student.
Donald Peters, a lawyer for the Arizona School Boards Association, has argued that there are some problems with Arizona’s new law: Parents have to waive their children’s right to a public school education, and it authorizes the transfer of public funds to private schools. According to the American Federation for Children, which supports the program, 167 families have signed up for the new vouchers.
A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2011 edition of Education Week as Suit Challenges Tuition Aid for Students With Disabilities