Oklahoma Capitol - (Commentary) I received an anonymous comment on a blog post recently implying the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program lacks accountability. That’s news to me and to the parents and students using the program.
In some respects, private schools are accountable just like public schools. Both public and private schools answer to boards. The anonymous writer, who posts under the pseudonym okeducationtruths, acknowledges that private schools, like public schools, must also be accredited by the State Department of Education.
“The program of the school shall be designed in the best interests of the students, and students are admitted only when it has been determined that there are reasonable expectations that the students' best interests can be served. The program, while appropriately adjusted to serve the best interest of its students and to be consistent with the school's philosophy and objectives, complies with applicable rules of the State Board of Education, especially in the following areas: (i) Length of the school day and school year; (ii) The basic skills subjects in the elementary curriculum including subjects which constitute a well-balanced elementary curriculum; instructional time requirements and essential elements which are comparable to those required in the like subjects at equivalent grade levels in the public school system; student academic records; and achievement levels required for promotion; and (iii) The appropriate subjects in the secondary curriculum, including sequencing of courses for which transferability of credit may be sought from the state; essential elements which are comparable to those required in the like subjects and courses at equivalent grade levels by the state; student academic records; and achievement levels necessary for the awarding of credits and diplomas.” Also, “Professional staff members must hold degrees and be qualified by preparation or experience for positions they hold and for the work to which they are assigned.”
“[E]ducators are greatly concerned at the very real possibility that a student with special needs can be pulled out of a public school and placed in a private school that may not offer any Special Education services.”
"Parents, I'm afraid, are unaware what they are giving up. Our concern is that our students are out there without anyone watching over them."
“[Parents] are giving up due process rights, continued IEP, auxiliary services, free and appropriate education, annual evaluations. ... There are a variety of things guaranteed to students and parents that would be lost."
Former State Rep. Neil Brannon, D-Arkoma, said during his debate against the program on the House floor, “[Parents] may think they know what’s best, but do they?”