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  • Joanne Jacobs

Florida's special-ed students are doing very well: Is it choice?

In Florida, which pioneered school choice for special-needs students more than 20 years ago, students with disabilities are doing very well, writes Matthew Ladner on reimaginED.


McKay Scholarships let families of students with disabilities choose a public or private school that fits their child's needs.


Florida's special-needs students now score as well or better than all students in some states (New Mexico, West Virginia and Alaska) and multiple urban districts (Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Dallas), writes Ladner. In all but eight states, they outscore black students.


Is it choice? Florida also has a large charter-school sector, he points out. But it's hard to say. The state passed a number of education reforms, including a research-based literacy initiative, that seem to be improving achievement for other groups, such as Hispanics.


Texas is likely to expand school choice this year, predicts Jay Greene on the Heritage blog. "Parents in the outer suburbs and rural areas are increasingly noticing the disconnect between the values they wish to teach their children and what is being promoted in their schools."


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