The Buckeye Institute looks a way to save money and make sure students with learning disabilities get a better education.
The bottom line is, if schools only diagnosed those students with real learning disabilities and if special needs students could obtain vouchers to attend the schools of their choice, Ohio would likely save millions at a time when every dime counts. Fewer kids stigmatized with a label, more choice, less cost — it all adds up to a winning combination for Ohio.
Buckeye builds on the experiment with special education vouchers in Florida.
A survey we conducted found that parents using vouchers in Florida were more likely to receive promised services in their current private school than they were in their former public school. They also reported a higher degree of general satisfaction with their child's academic achievement.
Second, schools respond to the increased possibility that disabled students might leave by improving the services they provide. A study we conducted last year found that the educational gains made by disabled students in Florida increased as more private school options became available nearby.
Vouchers also help to ensure that low-performing students who are not actually disabled don't get placed into special education. Though schools frequently complain about burdensome costs due to the rapid expansion of special education over the last three decades, in truth schools in most states benefit financially from diagnosing a student as disabled.