Special Needs Education

Former high school dropout perseveres, overcomes, and will open inclusive school that welcomes students with autism

“There was one event that triggered me to create the private school I had always thought about over my career. It came one day when my son came home and said to me, ‘Mom, I’m a weird kid.’ That broke me, and for a time, it broke him too. ” [Read More…]

Two women with a vision launch unique school for children with autism

CLEARWATER, Florida – Inside the walls of a sky-blue building surrounded with shade trees dwells a story of hope and inspiration and the shared dream of two women determined to help a special population of children. For Liz Russell and Cher Harris, co-founders of Autism Inspired Academy, the school offers[Read More…]

An Arkansas mom’s story about the power of education choice

Like many parents of a child with special needs, Erica Boucher was frustrated at the lack of educational options available for her son Hayden. Diagnosed with autism, Hayden was labeled a “bad child” by school administrators who concluded that his difficulty in the classroom stemmed from Boucher not disciplining him[Read More…]

Small-town parents leading on education choice

Surrounded by orange groves, Wauchula, Fla., the Cucumber Capital of the World, would seem an odd perch to check out the future of public education. But that’s exactly what little Florida towns like this one are offering. Wauchula, population 5,001, is home to homeschool mom Sandra Shoffner and her 6-year-old[Read More…]

New Brookings study on Texas special education cap disturbing on multiple levels

President Harry Truman famously opined that incoming president Dwight Eisenhower, a former five-star general, would have a rough go of things. Observed Truman: “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.” State[Read More…]

New report shows majority of Gardiner funding was spent on tuition in 2019-20

Families with children on Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship for students with special needs spent $117 million on private school tuition, books, curriculum, technology tutoring and more during the 2019-20 school year, according to a new report compiled by Step Up For Students. While more than half (close to 57%) of scholarship[Read More…]

Texas Senate approves bill to expand micro grants for special needs students

Texas legislators have passed a bill that will extend a program that provides $1,500 grants for purchase of services for additional educational support to families of children with special needs. SB 1716, approved on a bipartisan vote of 21-9, will expand the Supplemental Special Education Services program, created during the[Read More…]

Commentary: Prioritize students, not programs when legislating open enrollment

  For 25 years, Arizona’s open enrollment law has allowed families to send their children to any public school they choose, even those outside their local school district. Yet open enrollment has remained out of reach for many students with disabilities. That’s because while the state’s open enrollment law allows[Read More…]