August
18th 2009
Georgia Parents of Special-Needs Students Love Their School Choice, Too

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Parents & Private Schools & Research & School Choice & State Legislature

The proof keeps pouring in: Give parents private school choice opportunities, and they overwhelmingly love it. A couple weeks ago I highlighted a new survey of Florida parents whose children use the corporate scholarship tax credit to attend a non-public school: Satisfaction was off the charts.

Not to be outdone by its neighbor to the south, the Center for Educated Georgia also decided to measure feedback from parents who use a voucher to send their special-needs children to a private school. No surprises here, the two-year-old scholarship program is a big hit!

Here are some of the key findings (PDF):

  • All families rated their child’s private school as a “7” or better and 83 percent rated their child’s private school as a “9” or “10”. Only 25.5 percent of families rated their former public school as a “7” or better.
  • Private schools averaged 9.2 in terms of satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10. Public schools averaged 4.4 in terms of satisfaction.
  • Fifty-six (56) percent of families reported that their child was often bothered or taunted in public school because of his or her disability. Twenty-six (26) percent reported their child was physically assaulted at public school due to his or her disability.

Many parents want school choice. And the more they are given the opportunity to exercise that choice, the more they love and appreciate it. No wonder some choice opponents are so afraid of letting people taste the power and the freedom.

On a related note, Jay Greene reportsthe Manhattan Institute has released a new super-awesome study he co-authored showing that a special-needs voucher program “reduces the likelihood that public schools will identify students as disabled.”

Anyway, the Georgia survey just makes me and Cap’n Crunch that much angrier that legislators right here in Colorado killed an attempt to create just a modest version of a scholarship program for autistic children.

Check out my Education Policy Center friends’ posting of more information on voucher and tax credit programs around the nation.

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