School vouchers, Special education, Students with disabilities


This study examined the current case law on school voucher programs for students with disabilities and legal protections under IDEA. The idea of school vouchers can be traced back to the 1950s but have taken a new form in the past 13 years. There have been several court challenges to the constitutionality of school voucher programs with mixed results which will lead to court challenges in the future on a state by state basis based on the state’s constitution. School vouchers have been developed to target specific populations of students including students with disabilities. But with very little accountability for the private schools accepting the school vouchers, parents are left to make choices about their child’s education with the limited information provided to them. Parents of student with disabilities who participate in school voucher programs in order to attend a private school may lose many protections under IDEA, if not all of them. The focus of the study was on the five states with school voucher programs for students with disabilities: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Utah. The review of case law in regards to school voucher programs for students with disabilities demonstrated difference and similarities depending on the state’s constitution. This will lead to future case law for school voucher programs for disabilities to be determined on a case by case basis. The legislators developing new school voucher programs for student with disabilities will need to analyze the state’s constitution in order to determine if any legal challenges would occur. Federal legislators need to revisit the protections under IDEA for parentally placed private school students with the mindset that more and more school voucher programs for students with disabilities will be developed in years to come. In the iv reauthorization of IDEA, federal legislators need to determine if more protections need to be provided to parentally placed private school students attending a private school on a school voucher program. Without more protections for students with disabilities, parents may have limited options when participating in a school voucher program and the students may not receive the appropriate special education and related services.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Murray, Kenneth


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership; Previous Leadership Certification








Release Date

December 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic