Uncategorized

US Department of Justice rules state voucher programs may not discriminate against students with disabilities

In a letter released this week, the U.S. Department of Justice affirmed that Wisconsin must ensure that students with disabilities who seek to attend or are currently enrolled in private schools through the state’s taxpayer-funded voucher program “do not encounter discrimination on the basis of their disabilities.” Hat tip to Diane Ravitch for highlighting this news today on her blog.

“The state cannot, by delegating the education function to private voucher schools, place students beyond the reach of the federal laws that require Wisconsin to eliminate disability discrimination in its administration of public programs,” DOJ officials wrote in the letter to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers. The letter goes on to clearly spell out how Wisconsin must make efforts to ensure that their school choice program comply with Title II federal regulations.

The ACLU and other Wisconsin-based organizations filed a complaint with DOJ in 2011 alleging that students with disabilities were discriminated against in Milwaukee’s voucher schools.

The ruling will have a far-reaching impact as voucher programs in 20 states will be required to monitor their programs for compliance with federal laws protecting the disabled.

North Carolina is on track to introduce its own voucher program in the state with Rep. Stam’s HB 944, Opportunity Scholarship Act. The bill has not yet been heard in committee, but if and when it is, it seems certain that lawmakers will be asked to consider the plan’s potential conflicts with Title II federal regulations, given this week’s ruling. As it stands now, there is no mention of students with disabilities in the bill’s eligibility requirements.

Check Also

Changing hats, but my focus remains on education

Dear NC Policy Watch readers, It’s been a ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

More than a month after a deadline to correct faulty campaign finance reports, N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise [...]

Even before he dropped the gavel on the Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Jerry Tillman, a noto [...]

The $23 billion budget deal speeding through the N.C. General Assembly this week includes a platoon [...]

Royal Diadem Jewelers in Greensboro sets itself apart in a number of small ways - fast and friendly [...]

By now the strategy is familiar – the strategy used by the N.C. General Assembly’s Republican chiefs [...]

The post The devil and the details appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

18---percentage of people in North Carolina who receive health care coverage from Medicaid or the Ch [...]

Republican legislative leaders are desperately trying to shift the focus off the details of their me [...]

Featured | Special Projects

Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more


HB2 - The continuing controversy
Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Read more