| July 15, 2013

Henry Scholarships are improving lives

When the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program was enacted in 2010, state Rep. Kris Steele correctly noted that the program would honor the memory of Lindsey Nicole Henry and “let it be known for generations to come that she, and her parents, are helping to improve the lives of special-needs children across the state.”

It’s happening, and now is the time “to focus on the law’s impressive success,” as the state’s largest newspaper said today in its lead editorial (‘Scholarship program an example of publicly funded education at its best’).

Lindsey Nicole Henry scholarships allow the use of state funds (already designated for an individual child's education) to pay for tuition at a private school catering to those with special needs. …

For more than a year now, OCPA, a free-market think tank, has tracked the progress of three children getting scholarships [see video below]. Before receiving the scholarship, David Hood said his daughter, Chloe, “wasn't really speaking. She didn't have a lot of facial expressions.” Chloe now can access specialized education. The results: She mastered out of first-grade reading and advanced to second-grade material — at age 5. Her mother, Tara, says Chloe is catching up socially and is “very close to being on target.”

“Especially when I look back at how she was two years ago when she was diagnosed, she's come so much further than I had even thought was possible for her — in a short amount of time,” Tara said. David Hood said, “At the start of the race, she was behind. And now she's caught up to a large degree.”

Phylicia Lewis, who attends Town & Country thanks to a scholarship, used to dread school, comparing it to “walking into a battlefield.” She was often picked on and spent her days crying. This is no longer the case.

“I don't get bullied anymore at school. I have friends now. I feel comfortable going to school. I like going to school. I laugh at school,” Phylicia said. “I actually have fun learning.” Her mother calls it a “joy to know that Phylicia doesn't have to worry about whether or not she can receive an education.”

I encourage you to read The Oklahoman’s excellent editorial here, and to tune in to NewsRadio 1000 KTOK Wednesday morning at 7:35 as I discuss this subject with Reid Mullins (live stream here).

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