Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I suspect that, after this, Utah is going to find itself with a bunch of special needs students

It's a miniscule step in the right direction, but it's a step:

Today, Utah Governor John Huntsman, Jr. will sign the "Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Bill," the nation's first voucher bill of 2005. The legislation provides parents of special needs students with a school voucher that could be used to attend a private school of choice. "This is a small but important step forward for Utah parents," said Doug Holmes, Chairman of Education Excellence Utah. "Governor Huntsman should be applauded for his courage and leadership on Carson Smith and other parental choice efforts," added Holmes. The Carson Smith voucher, worth up to $5,700, is available to all children in Utah who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Currently, around 54,000 students have an IEP, or approximately 11 percent of the total student population in Utah. The child may use the voucher at a Utah-based private school.
I have a suspicion that, with $5,700 as an incentive, a huge number of parents are suddenly going to discover that their high-functioning children are actually special-needs children, entitled to an Individual Education Plan. Certainly I would do that if I could get my kids out of mediocre, highly-politicized schools into a private school of my choice. And the fact is that, in Utah, with its low cost of living, $5,700 is a huge amount of money towards private school tuition.