Arkansas took a huge step forward on school choice during the 2015 legislative session by passing a law that established the Succeed Scholarship program. The Succeed Scholarship is the first school voucher program to be established in the Natural State. This law gives parents of children with special needs the ability to send their children to the school that best meets their unique circumstances. The upcoming 2016-2017 school year will be the first academic year parents will be able to benefit from the program. The program allows children with special needs to receive a scholarship worth up to $6600 to attend a private school. For a student to be accepted into the program, a student must be eligible for special education, must have attended a public school the previous year, and must be accepted to the private school of their choice. In order to accept eligible students, private schools must apply and be approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. Both parents and private schools can apply to the program here. The Arkansas Department of Education has partnered with The Reform Alliance, a local education non-profit organization, to help implement the program. Katie Clifford, Executive Director of The Reform Alliance, said in a statement the program would help “students who need the opportunity the most.” Clifford said: We are getting phone calls from parents and private schools interested in the program every single day. While the program has a limited number of scholarships available for the first year, we’re looking forward to seeing it grow. The biggest improvement the Succeed Scholarship brings to education in Arkansas is that it gives parents, many who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, a choice in what situation is best for their child. We here at The Arkansas Project know that competition improves outcomes in private business. It’s good to see these principles being introduced into K-12 education in the Natural State.


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