It doesn’t stop. Now over at Edspresso Matt is turning to sarcasm! If his point is that spec ed is too adversarial for un-empowered parents now, then I don’t see how introducing a component, vouchers, that seems sure-fire to increase the adversarial relationship between school districts and parents over special education placements helps. If school districts are identifying too many kids (which Matt and I think they are) for special ed then tying vouchers to special ed placements could well introduce a disincentive for school districts but create a corresponding incentive for parents. And, while school districts are identifying too many students as having learning disabilities that obviously doesn’t mean that every student identified for special education with a learning disability is wrongly identified. So a blanket disincentive doesn’t make a great deal of sense either.
But Matt says so far there is no evidence from Florida that this is happening with McKay (look for an ES analysis of the program later this year) which then begs the question about how this creates a disincentive and isn’t just a run of the mill voucher program? In other words, if McKay were doing what its proponents say we’d see (a) kids with more severe disabilities disproportionately served and (b) a reduction in identification So far neither of those things are happening. We’re starting to repeat ourselves here so let me conclude by saying that if the goal is more choice then let’s have that debate, but special education has enough problems without using is as a subterfuge for school vouchers.