March 31, 2015
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Mary Laura Bragg, National Legislative Director for Excellence in Education National (@Excel_National), issued the following statement in support of the Succeed Scholarship Program (HB 1552). This legislation empowers parents of children with an individual education plan (IEP) to choose the school that best meets the learning needs of their child.
“The Succeed Scholarship Program opens the doors to a quality education for Arkansas’ students with special needs. Parents have the right—and should have the ability—to explore the many learning options available and maximize the possibilities that best benefit their child.
“We thank Representative Douglas House and Senator Jim Hendren for leading this effort and for recognizing that equity and opportunity allow children to succeed in education. It is imperative we do all we can to improve education outcomes for Arkansas’ most vulnerable students.”
Last week, the Arkansas House approved HB 1552 by a unanimous 90-0 vote. The bill is now on its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson for his signature.
Learn more about the Succeed Scholarship Program (HB 1552):
- Enables public school students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to attend a private school of choice through a scholarship.
- Requires participating private schools to specify the grade levels and services available for students with severe disabilities. Requires participating private schools to be accredited.
- Creates a program similar to a 1999 Florida law, the McKay Scholarship Program, that has significant benefits for students with special needs:
- A study completed two years after the program was launched found that 92.7 percent of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with their new schools; students had smaller classes to meet their unique learning needs; students were victimized far less by other students; and behavioral issues dropped by more than 50 percent.
- Two studies also showed that the law became the necessary push for many public schools to deliver better services to special needs students who remained in public schools. A 2008 study found that public school students with relatively mild disabilities made statistically significant test score improvements in both math and reading. Another study in 2012 showed that Florida’s students with special needs led the nation in combined Math and Reading National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) gains for students with special needs from 2003-2011.
For more information visit www.ExcelNational.org.