Arkansas has become the 25th state to pass school-choice legislation.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 1552 into law, enacting the ABLE Act, which allows federal funding for colleges and universities to create educational programs for special-needs students. It will also provide school vouchers for children with disabilities to attend a private school. The intent is to enable those with disabilities to become more self-sufficient.
It is the state's first school-choice program, and Leslie Hiner of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice says that's a reason to celebrate.
“We’re very excited about Arkansas being that state that really pushes the country over the halfway mark for states that have some variety of private school choice,” she tells OneNewsNow.
Hiner notes this legislation had strong bipartisan support, with the bill first passing in the Arkansas House on a unanimous vote of 90-0.
“Policymakers in the state of Arkansas have recognized very clearly that there are some educational deficiencies in the state that need to be corrected,” she says. “And they’ve found a way they can do that by putting the choice of education, the choice of school, back into the hands of parents.”
No funds from the Arkansas Public School Fund and no funds designated for public schools will be used to fund the vouchers.