Federal Report Says Voucher Programs Can Leave Disabled Students Behind

Church & State, November 2016 | Go to article overview

Federal Report Says Voucher Programs Can Leave Disabled Students Behind


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer money, in September released a report showing that private school voucher programs are plagued with problems especially for low-income students and students with disabilities.

The report looked at state voucher programs across the country, focusing on whether students with disabilities and from low-income families are receiving the proper federal services. It found that students who are entitled to receive services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) and Title I (a program for students from low-income areas) often did not receive them because they opted to use a private school voucher.

In some instances, the GAO found that private schools don't provide the necessary services because they are simply uninformed and confused about what types of services they are required to provide; in other cases, some private voucher schools have actually opted out of providing federally funded services simply because they said it would be too much of an administrative headache.

However, that's not all the report found. Here are some of the GAO report's other findings:

Private voucher schools discriminate in admitting students. Private schools in all but four voucher programs across the country can discriminate in the admission of students based on a variety of factors, such as disciplinary history, academic achievement and religious affiliation. …

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Federal Report Says Voucher Programs Can Leave Disabled Students Behind
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