Governor Abbott Announces Growing Support For School Choice For Special Needs Students

July 20, 2017

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that his call for school choice for special needs students is generating growing support across Texas. Allowing school choice for special needs students is part of the Governor's 20-item agenda for the ongoing special legislative session.

“The Texas Business Leadership Council applauds Governor Abbott’s commitment to improving educational outcomes in Texas. Addressing issues like school effectiveness and teacher compensation will have a real effect on student success. The Governor also recognizes that providing additional opportunities for students with special needs is both the right thing to do and will have a lasting positive impact on the student, his or her family, and the state as well.” – Justin Yancy, President, Texas Business Leadership Council

"For generations, homeschooling has grown strong based on the idea that each family should be empowered with freedom to make their own choices for their own family. THSC supports increased school choice options for special needs students based on this exact same premise.  Empowering families with the freedom to make their own decisions gives them access to more and better options that meet the student's unique needs." – Tim Lambert, President, Texas Home School Coalition

"Texans for Education Opportunity applauds Governor Greg Abbott for his leadership on education freedom for our most vulnerable students. By including Education Savings Accounts for students with special needs on the call for the Special Session, our state lawmakers will have the opportunity to pass meaningful legislation so these young Texans have the chance to realize their full potential through an environment designed to fit their unique learning needs.” – Stacy Hock, Chair, Texans for Education Opportunity 

“AFP-Texas is proud to stand with Governor Abbott in promoting educational freedom for the families of special needs students in Texas. We encourage the Legislature to pass compassionate reforms such as Educational Savings Accounts (ESA)s for Special Needs Students in the special session to ensure all Texas families have the ability to give their children a quality education.” - Jerome Greener, State Director, Americans for Prosperity – TX  

“As a congregational rabbi, I hear many heartbreaking stories from parents of special needs children. Parents struggle with the overwhelming cost and the daily challenge of ensuring that their child with special needs receives a high-quality education in the most appropriate setting. Parents need a full range of public and private educational options.” - Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum, Congregation Ohr HaTorah of Dallas and regional representative of Agudath Israel of America 

“Parents are the primary educators of their children and we applaud efforts to prioritize parental choice in the Texas legislature. In particular, we support opportunities for children with disabilities, who are most in need of our assistance. We will work hard for passage of these bills.” – Michael Barba, Associate Director of Public Policy, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

"The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention supports school choice for special needs students.  We believe disabled individuals are a valued part of God's creation and those with disabilities require understanding, compassion, and assistance.  It is critical to offer help and hope to individuals with disabilities and to their families that they will not face these challenges alone in a school that does not offer the educational services their child requires." – Gary Ledbetter, Communications Director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention

“A majority of states offer their families expanded educational freedom to meet students’ individual needs; Texas is not among them. Our research has found that states that offer students with special needs more educational options have seen impressive student gains and overwhelming participant satisfaction. More than 600,000 vulnerable students in Texas are likely to be eligible for such a program.” – Stephanie Matthews, Director, TPPF Center for Education Freedom

“If Texas lawmakers act now to lead, they can dramatically improve educational opportunity for families and students, by supporting educational freedom. The majority of special needs kids in the state are Hispanic, so this move will help the state to become more competitive, and help Hispanic families succeed at the same time.” – Jorge A. Lima, Executive Director, The LIBRE Initiative