Saturday, September 17, 2016

Breaking:GAO Study Finds School Chioce Programs Are Growing and May Violate IDEA #school choice #GAO

A recent study by the General Accountability Office finds that school choice programs are growing. The study casts some doubt upon whether the school choice programs are in compliance with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requiring private schools to conduct child find and provide equitable services to students with disabilities.

The report finds that  "officials in all four states GAO visited—comprising half of all private choice programs and two-thirds of participating students—said that vouchers and ESAs complicate their efforts to implement these requirements. Further, although Education officials said that a student’s participation in private school choice programs does not affect the federal equitable services requirements, officials GAO spoke to in two states expressed confusion about whether a student’s participation in these programs changed their eligibility for these services."

You can read the 55 page report here. A one page summary is available here.


  1. A quick comment - Child Find and the equitable services requirements under IDEA are obligations of the LEAs, not the private schools (see Section 612(a)(10)(A) of the IDEA statute and 34 CFR §§300.130 through 300.144 of the IDEA regs). The GAO report found "confusion" on the part of LEAs in complying with the law, but also noted that LEAs haven't sought out help from USED to clear up their "confusion," hence the report's recommendation that USED step in and provide more technical assistance. The press releases on this report have been a little misleading, so the report is best understood when read directly.