New Education Scholarship Accounts for children with special needs have downsides
A new Indiana Education Scholarship Account program allows Hoosier families who opt out of traditional schooling to find their own special education programs and services for their eligible child, and it provides funds to eligible students for pre-approved education expenses.
The program falls under the Indiana State Treasurer’s office, not the Indiana Department of Education.
Before you choose this option, be aware of potential negative consequences, including:
1. The ESA may not cover every service your child needs.
2. When you take an ESA, you are giving up your child’s right to a Free and Appropriate Education under federal law and your child loses due process rights.
3. If you choose the ESA option, the State provides no protections. Parents are on their own to resolve issues if the provider doesn’t follow an Individual Education Plan, mistreats children or overbills. Parents who need an attorney will have to pay the attorney’s fees.
4. Providers who can be paid by this program are not obligated to follow the child’s IEP. They can refuse to serve your child at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all.
Other states with similar programs have found instances of ESA money used for items that have nothing to do with educating children, wasting taxpayers’ money.
Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, President, Indiana Coalition for Public Education
Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2013-2017
Rachel Burke, President, Indiana PTA