Special Needs and Choice Districts

February 2011

Districts that are moving to a broader school choice system need to minimize the risks to students with unique needs but also use this opportunity to dramatically improve the options to and outcomes for the public school system's neediest students.

This report focuses on the evidence to date on how students with special needs fare under choice, the typical challenges and tensions that emerge for special populations under district choice systems, the types of strategies districts are employing to make school choice work for unique students, and promising new ideas that have yet to be tried.

The paper was presented at the Voluntary School Choice Project Directors Conference on February 26-27, 2011, in Washington. D.C.