Showing again that competition is a tide that lifts all boats, the Manhattan Institute released a study last week that shows public school special-education students perform better when they attend public schools that are exposed to competition with voucher programs (see here).
The researchers conducted a statistical analysis of student achievement of all special- education students in Florida's public schools. As it turns out, those whose public schools were closest to private-school options available through the statewide McKay Scholarship were significantly more likely to see their test scores rise.
This study solidly corroborates existing research on how the availability of scholarships promotes better performance in the public school and benefits even those public school students who don't use the scholarship.
As the Ohio General Assembly considers whether to create a scholarship for students with special needs (S.B. 57 and H.B. 348), this study should remind us of the scholarship's broader impacts. The scholarship would not only allow some parents to send their children to schools and programs that better serve their child's individual needs but it would also encourage improvements at traditional schools.
And that's good news for all 200,000 Ohio students with special learning needs.