More Choices for Special-Needs Children

School choice could help special-needs students while saving money for taxpayers, according to a new study published by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and OCPA (press release here).

At a state capitol press conference on Tuesday, OCPA and Friedman were joined by three state legislators who are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about this issue: Rep. Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa), Sen. John Ford (R-Bartlesville), and Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond). The OETA report is posted above. The News9 coverage is here. The Oklahoman's story is here, and the KOSU podcast should be posted soon. And our good friends at the Tulsa World, God love 'em, chose the benign headline "Scholarship program idea assailed as voucher scheme" to frame their reportage of the issue.

The World quoted the president of the state's most powerful labor union as saying, "Oklahoma families don't want voucher schemes." But the funny thing is that, umm, they actually do. A recent scientific survey of 1,200 likely Oklahoma voters made that clear. And it's small wonder: when asked simply "what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?" a mere 17 percent said they would choose a regular public school. That's not a misprint. A full 83 percent would choose something else.

Tick, tick, tick. A sea change is coming at 23rd and Lincoln, and I think the unions sense it. And if all they can do is keep their heads in the sand, mindlessly reciting their talking points, choice will get here sooner rather than later.

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