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December 2013

To help special needs students, end voucher expansion

Letter to the Editor, Capital Times, 27 November 2013

Dear Editor: In her recent letter, Rachel Angel overlooked some troubling issues when she suggested using vouchers to educate students with special needs, on the cheap.

Unfortunately, many Wisconsinites are not aware that students with special needs who attend private voucher schools give up their rights and protections under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Not only that, voucher schools don’t have to provide special education staff and aren’t legally required to meet the student’s educational needs as the law requires of the public schools.

In addition, public schools are open to all regardless of disability, while many private schools prefer to educate only the less-challenging students, leading to widespread cherry-picking. The students with the more significant challenges remain in the public schools, with ever-shrinking resources as our tax dollars flow away into unaccountable voucher schools along with selected students.

For the well-being of our most vulnerable students, Wisconsin needs to end the voucher expansion, and strongly resist any further attempts to create a special needs voucher program.

Joanne Juhnke
Steering committee chair, Stop Special Needs Vouchers Wisconsin Madison

Parent Quotes

“We should not be spending precious public tax dollars on an education that does not guarantee qualified staff, necessary therapies and a true Individualized Education Program which must be implemented as written with parents at the table.”

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