Representative Judy Ward introduced House Bill 2228 in a visionary move that would empower Pennsylvania families and students with more options to customize an educational experience that works for their needs.
HB 2228 creates the Keystone Scholarship Program, through which families could use the educational dollars allotted for their child to ensure they find the right fit. The scholarships would be available to students with special needs and those who are gifted, with certain enrollment requirements waived for eligible students who are also military-connected, in foster care or adopted.
The Keystone Scholarship Program is an example of an Education Scholarship Account, or ESA; these programs have been applauded as an innovative way to bring student-centered customization to K-12 education in five other states. With an ESA, parents are able to direct education funding for their child to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice, including any combination of private school, textbooks and curriculum, online learning, tutoring, occupational or instructional therapies, testing and other support services, or tuition and fees at institutions of higher education.
Every family should have the opportunity to find the right educational fit based on their child’s unique needs. Students with special needs deserve to have a customized education that includes the therapies and services they need to reach their potential and thrive. Similarly, gifted students should have the opportunity to strive to find new challenges and accelerate their learning.
ExcelinEd in Action thanks Representative Ward for her commitment to ensuring that these special students across Pennsylvania will now have the flexibility and freedom to craft an education that will work for them.
For more information on the power of educational opportunity, visit ExcelinEd’s policy library.