Michael Q. McShane

Last Friday, the Senate Jobs, Economic Development, and Local Government Committee passed HB1589/2307, which would create two tax credit-driven school choice programs (along with two other benevolent tax credits).

This is great news. The bill has passed the House with a wide majority and now is primed for the Senate as a whole.

I am a firm believer that we will be judged by how we treated the least among us. I cannot think of students in more need than those in our foster care system and those with special needs. Creating programs that expand their educational options is the right thing to do, and I’m glad to see support for it in both the house and senate.

As I submitted in my written testimony on HB 2307 (before the bills were combined):

Students with special needs are the perfect candidates for education savings accounts. After all, when we talk about what traditional public schools must do to design an education program for a student with special needs, we call it an “individualized education plan.”

We recognize that each of these students, even though they might be diagnosed with the same learning issue, is unique and will need an education customized directly for them. There is no better way to create that customized education than through an education savings account program.

There is also a pernicious belief that school choice programs will “skim” the top performing students or the children who are easiest to educate. Creating a program specifically for students with special refutes that notion. There are educational providers all across the state who want to help students, even those with learning needs that present serious challenges, and such a program would help them to do so.

Here’s hoping the ball keeps rolling!

About the Author

Michael McShane
Senior Fellow of Education Policy

Mike McShane is Senior Fellow of Education Policy for the Show-Me Institute. He is a former high school teacher and earned his PhD in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the Show-Me Institute, Mike worked at the American Enterprise Institute as a research fellow.