Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship

This January 31st I had the unique opportunity to deliver a speech on the stairs of the Georgia State Capitol. This was an exciting yet terrifying experience as I faced a crowd of 2000 plus parents, kids and educators all there celebrating National School Choice Week.

Despite the crowds, I felt an overwhelming sense of God's presence. He was with me that day to calm my fears and help me deliver helpful words to many who are looking for educational solutions for their children.

Specifically, I spoke about the Georgia Special Needs
Scholarship. Since many reading this blog have your own special kids, I want to make sure you know about this innovative law that give students with disabilities more educational choices.

The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship was passed in the Georgia legislature five years ago, exactly when we were looking for a school choice for Sara Ashley. It is no surprise to me that God blessed us in that way! Under the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship, parents may choose to send their child with diagnosed disabilities (and with an IEP) to another public or charter school within their county or to a participating private school in the state that will best serve their child's needs.

Most importantly for many, the law provides those who choose private school financial help to offset tuition. The average award per student is $5,917.00 per year (public schools in Georgia spend on average $7,976.00 per year per student).

Our son, a gifted learner, thrives in the public school system and we are very grateful for the education he receives. My husband and I are also products of public school and we support them fully. But we have found that one size does not fit all. With the large volume of students in our public schools it is nearly impossible for even the best teachers to maximize each student's potential. Therefore, we choose to utilize the GSNS in order to send our daughter to The Bedford School, a school for children with learning disabilities. Instead of sending her to a school that was not able to meet her needs (despite everyone's best efforts) we send her to a school that has teachers trained specifically to help children with learning differences.  This school has the latest techniques and technology to help these kids learn their best. The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship has played an integral part in our ability to send Sara Ashley to her school and she is thriving.

As I shared in the speech I had the honor of giving on behalf of my daughter: 

This is what a child's life can be like when they receive the educational options that they need.
This is what parents can expect when they exercise choice and find the school that best meets their child's needs. We can send our kids to a school that serves their strengths and weaknesses, helps them reach their full potential, prepares them to be successful and productive citizens, and encourages them to help others along the way as they have been helped.

Why would we choose anything less for our

For more information about the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship go to http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/Special-Needs-Scholarship-Program.aspx.

No comments:

Post a Comment