A Blow to School Choice, Ctd.

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The Justice Department recently decided that schools that accept vouchers must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as though they were government contractors. As I mentioned here earlier, that decision will make schools less likely to participate in voucher programs. Compliance with the ADA will significantly raise costs, and some schools may be wary of compromising their character as private organizations. Jason Bedrick and Patrick Wolf have written about this issue since I last posted. Wolf makes a point about the Wisconsin program that was the department’s letter concerned: “So, after 22 years of operation and with 25,000 student participants, approximately 11 percent of whom have disabilities, the state agency that oversees the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has received a grand total of 0 complaints regarding the program’s treatment of students with disabilities.” The problem may be non-existent, but the costs of the department’s solution will be real enough.