- Loss of Protections: Private schools are not required to provide students with disabilities or their families with vital guarantees and protections set by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or other state and federal laws. Students and their families will lose essential safeguards and support systems, endangering their educational rights.
- Discrimination: Private schools are allowed to deny admittance to students for any reason. The vast majority of private schools do not accept students with disabilities, particularly those with moderate and significant academic, medical or behavioral support needs.
- Lack of Accountability: Private schools receiving voucher funds lack the rigorous accountability mechanisms in place for public schools. This absence of oversight can result in inadequate academic and student outcomes, hindering the quality of education for students with disabilities.
- Increased Segregation: A voucher program may lead to increased segregation of students with disabilities, as private schools are not required to educate children with disabilities in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), which public schools are required to do under IDEA. This separation further isolates and stigmatizes students with disabilities.
- Insufficient Funds: When a child leaves the public school, they take funding with them. The children left in public schools are then increasingly at risk of receiving lower-quality services as the pool of funding shrinks. Additionally, as students with disabilities with low support needs exit public school, there is less funding to serve students with higher needs.
Instead of establishing a school voucher program to send students to private schools, we must urge members of the Texas legislature to focus on ensuring that students with disabilities receive the support, services, and protections they need to thrive within our public educational system. Please use this Action Alert to easily message your State Senator and State Representative to educate them on the downsides of establishing a voucher program and ask them to oppose HB 1 and SB 1.