41 Days of School Choice: Day 37 – Oklahoma Special Needs Students Have Opportunity to Receive High-Quality Education
Washington D.C. (Sept. 24, 2014) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, along with its state affiliate, the Oklahoma Federation for Children, features Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program as part of the #41Days of School Choice initiative. This program provides vital educational options to children with disabilities, and gives them the opportunity to tailor their education to meet their unique needs.
Enacted in 2010, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program served 290 students during the 2013-14 school year. This program allows Oklahoma’s special needs students to attend the private school of their parents’ choice and receive the specialized education they require. The scholarship pays either 100 percent of the state and local public school funding that would be spent on the child in the public school system, or the tuition and fees of a private institution.
In a recent poll performed by the Tarrance Group for the Oklahoma Federation for Children, they found Republican primary voters demonstrated strong support for the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program for special needs students, with 76 percent in favor of the scholarship program.
Despite being upheld in 2002 as a constitutional program, a district court recently ruled that the program is constitutional except when parents choose to send their child to a religious school. Ultimately this decision limits a parent’s ability to choose the right learning environment for their child.
“Special needs students deserve to receive a high quality education tailored to their needs, so they have the opportunity to succeed throughout the course of their education,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “While this recent court decision is a slight setback, we know support for educational choice in Oklahoma is strong and we are confident that the state will continue to offer life changing educational choice programs to the children who need quality options the most.”
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- In order to participate in the program students must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in effect at the time the scholarship is requested
- Attend a public school in the previous school year
- Children of U.S. military personnel transferring are exempt from prior year public school attendance requirement
- The local school district may keep up to five percent of the scholarship amount for administrative services.
Throughout the 41 Days of School Choice campaign, the American Federation for Children will be promoting programs using the hashtag “#41Days”.
The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.