Monday, October 27, 2008

Palin calls for school choice for special-needs children

In a speech on Friday in Pittsburgh, Pa., Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin detailed the intention of her presidential running mate, Sen. John McCain, to give parents the choice to spend their special-needs children to public or private school. According to Palin, all it would take is an administrative action to clarify existing law, so that Federal funding for special-needs education would follow the student to whichever school he attends.

In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents'. Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice -- public or private.

Under our reforms, federal funding for every special needs child will follow that child. Some states have begun to apply this principle already, as in Florida's McKay Scholarship program. That program allows for choices and a quality of education that should be available to parents in every state, for every child with special needs. This process should be uncomplicated, quick, and effective -- because early education can make all the difference. No barriers of bureaucracy should stand in the way of serving children with special needs.

That's why John and I will direct the Department of Education to clarify the statute administratively. We'll make explicit that when state funds are portable, federal funds are fully portable. We're going to make sure parents have choices and children receive the education they deserve.

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