Should the Public Pay to Send Kids With Learning Disabilities to Private Schools?

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kids with learnign disabilities private schools with taxpayer money supreme courtLast month, the United States Supreme Court ruled that some kids with learning disabilities may be able to skip public school special education programs and enroll in private schools instead—but they wouldn't have to pay, the money would come from taxpayers.

The case before the Court involved a teenage boy in Oregon who struggled in school, but when school officials evaluated him, they concluded he wasn’t eligible for special services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the special-ed law that entitles all students to a “free, appropriate public education").

The boy's parents took him to a private psychologist who diagnosed him with ADHD, depression, a math learning disorder, and marijuana abuse. They then enrolled him in a private school (without consulting the boy's school, which subsequently decided the boy didn't qualify for special services).

The parents sued the school district for the $65,000 they spent on private tuition—and won.

The court said that public schools have an affirmative obligation to "identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities" and that it would be wrong to reward a school district for refusing to find a child eligible for special services.

What do you think? Should public schools be obligated to pay private tuition for special ed students they haven't assisted? Have you tried to get special services for your child in public school? Were you happy with the results?

education, special needs