School Vouchers and Students with Disabilities
April 15, 2003
SCOPE AND PURPOSE:
The enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) codified the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under law for all children and youth with disabilities, providing them with a free appropriate public education that meets their education and related services needs in the least restrictive environment. The implementation of IDEA has produced important improvements in the quality and effectiveness of the education received by more than six million children and youth with disabilities.
In recent years, a vigorous debate has emerged on the use of educational vouchers to encourage greater choice to parents and students in public education service delivery. Policy makers have offered school choice and voucher proposals in the context of the reauthorization of IDEA. Yet, no comprehensive examination has been made of the general conditions that determine whether school vouchers are an effective educational instrument for students with disabilities.
The National Council on Disability’s (NCD) School Vouchers and Students with Disabilities policy paper provides a rationale for assessing the issue of school vouchers