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Vouchers Are Not the Solution for Families of Children with Autism

TFN Urges Senate to Reject Proposed Voucher Scheme 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2007

Taking money from neighborhood public schools to pay for a private school voucher program is not the solution to helping families of children with special needs, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said today.

“Families of children with special needs deserve real help, not false promises that drain money from neighborhood schools,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “The only reason we’re even discussing this today is the voucher lobby is desperately seeking any tactic to get a bill through the Legislature. But public schools can help these families if legislators will finally give them the resources to do so.”

Sen. Florence Shapiro’s bill is modeled after a similar autism voucher program in Ohio and peddled by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in other states. But the experiences in those other states have exposed serious flaws:

  • Draining money from public schools will limit the ability of those schools to provide the necessary services for special-needs students.
  • Vouchers won’t cover the real costs of providing private care, leaving low- and middle-income families with no access to the program.
  • Families outside metropolitan areas will find it difficult or impossible to find private service providers.

“This bill is no different from the voucher schemes the Legislature has defeated in the past,” Miller said. “It offers false hope to families while draining precious resources from the very public schools that serve all children, regardless of their disabilities.”

A fact sheet about the Ohio voucher program for students with autism is available at www.tfn.org/publiceducation/vouchers/index.php.

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who advance a mainstream agenda supporting public education, religious freedom and individual liberties.

 

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