April 21, 2015
RELEASE: Excel National Commends Tennessee Senate for Providing Education Choice
Children with special needs are one step closer to choice in learning environment
Tallahassee, Fla. – Excellence in Education National (@Excel_National) Executive Director Patricia Levesque issued the following statement today regarding the Tennessee Senate’s passage of the Individualized Education Act (SB 27). The legislation would empower parents of children with special needs with the ability to direct their child’s education funding to the education services that best fit the needs of the child.
“When parents have options, children realize the benefits. We know programs like the Individualized Education Act work in other states and families are seeing results. This bill gives parents of Tennessee students with special needs the ability to find the best learning environment for their unique needs, setting them up for success in their education. We thank Senate Education Committee Chair Dolores Gresham for her leadership and we look forward to swift passage of this legislation by the House of Representatives.”
Facts about the Individualized Education Act, SB 27 and HB 138:
- The Individualized Education Act provides a customized education for students with special needs, giving parents the flexibility to direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services that best fit their children’s needs through an Individualized Education Account (IEA).
- Both bills provide for the Department of Education to deduct up to four percent from IEA funds to cover the costs of administering the program. Both the state and local school districts are projected to save money under the program.
- Both bills require the Department to ensure funds are used only for educational purposes, provide parents with a written explanation of the allowable uses of the money and their responsibilities, conduct random, quarterly and annual audits, set up fraud reporting and have the ability to suspend or terminate any school or provider that fails to comply.
- Participating students are also required to partake in annual testing, and the results must be reported.
For more information visit www.ExcelNational.org.