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Tuesday, 29th April 2008

The Effect of Special Education Vouchers on Public School Achievement: Evidence From Florida’s McKay Scholarship Programs

The Effect of Special Education Vouchers on Public School Achievement: Evidence From Florida’s McKay Scholarship Programs
Source: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

This paper evaluates the impact of exposure to a voucher program for disabled students in Florida on the academic performance of disabled students who remain in the public school system. The authors utilize student-level data on the universe of public school students in the state of Florida from 2000-01 through 2004-05 to study the effect of the largest school voucher program in the United States, the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities (McKay), on achievement in math and reading by students who have been diagnosed as disabled and remain in the public school system.

This paper is the first empirical evaluation of the impact of exposure to a voucher program designed to allow students with disabilities to enroll in schools other than their local public schools on the achievement of disabled students who remain in their local public schools. Vouchers for disabled students are the fastest-growing type in the United States. Programs similar to McKay are currently operating in Ohio, Georgia, and Utah and have been recently considered by other states.

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