Friday Freakout: All Kids with Special Needs Are Thriving in Public Schools

In light of the great strides two education savings accounts (ESA) bills made just yesterday, today’s Friday Freakout comes to you from Mississippi.

In a local news story about Mississippi’s ESA bills, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents was quoted saying this.

“I think special needs kids are being provided for,” said Sam Bounds, executive director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. “There should not be an escape hatch. They should be dealt with in the public schools.”

Now, we know this one doesn’t come from the comments section, but doesn’t it make you want to freak out? Hear us out. The sweeping assumption Bounds makes about all kids with special needs is one we hear all too often.

Public schools might offer multiple services for kids with disabilities, but it is impossible for one institution to have the best resources for every type and variation of a disability or combination of disabilities. Kids with special needs are just that. Individuals with unique needs. Traditional schools’ techniques, resources and teachers will meet the needs of some children with special needs brilliantly, but some kids are bound to tell a different, often sadder, story. So what is a parent to do if their child isn’t thriving?

We, and thousands of passionate parents of children with special needs, agree that it’s not an escape hatch families need, it’s a copy of the key that in many states only the district superintendent holds. Parents deserve the ability to unlock the door of their zoned public school and access an education that works better for them.

To learn more about the nuts and bolts of the ESA bill Mississippi families are working hard to get passed, read the post here. If you’d like more information on school choice in your state and what you can do to support it, contact our State Programs team here.