Monday, March 17, 2008

Special effects

The Associated Press reports ('Paperwork overwhelms some special-needs teachers') that "some of Oklahoma's special-needs teachers say excessive paperwork associated with the job is causing many to reconsider whether they want to remain in the profession. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education says the number of special education majors in the state has dropped during the last 10 years."

Oklahoma should consider following the lead of the five other states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Utah) which have enacted scholarship programs which now serve more than 20,000 kids with various disabilities (autism, traumatic brain injuries, blindness, specific learning disabilities, etc.). Survey data show that the scholarships are having a positive effect: Parents receiving the scholarships are overwhelmingly satisfied with the private schools their children are now able to attend. As one Florida mom (herself a public school teacher!) put it, "The attention Lucas receives at his new school didn't just save his ability to learn -- it also saved his life."

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