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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Apr 19, 2010

April 19, 2010

Nova Scotia Has a Tuition Support Program for Some Special Needs Kids

Students with autism, learning disabilities and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder will continue to get public funds to go to private schools announced Education Minister Marilyn More. The minister said the program is meant to be a short-term, intensive option among the array of services for children with learning disabilities.

The four private schools provide a specialized education for students whose families feel this is their last and only option for their child with learning difficulties.

“It provides, in their minds, a safer social climate for the students. The teachers are specialized, most of the peers in their classes also have similar conditions and it just provides an option for some parents." said the Education Minister.

There are 160 students in the Tuition Support Program at four locations in the Nova Scotia — Landmark East in Wolfville, Churchill Academy in Dartmouth, Bridgeway Academy in Dartmouth and Bridgeway’s satellite location in Truro.

The program is costing almost $1.4 million this school year. About $323,000 of that is supplemental funding available to families in need. Under the program, school boards transfer the $6,600 per student they get from the province to the private school. The total tuition cost per student for one year at Bridgeway for example is $11,000.

Marilyn More said students will be limited to three years in the program, although families can apply for a fourth year if the students don’t seem ready to go to public school.

"Quite frankly, it’s difficult for my government to recognize spending public funding outside the public school system," More said.

"We feel that the inclusion of students of all abilities and challenges and needs within the public school system is the best situation for them, and we would prefer to put our focus and our funding within . . . the continuum of programs and services for students in the public forum."

During my teaching career I have heard many successful stories of students who would not have made it through Public Schools but graduated from these specialized Private Schools and went on to University or Community Colleges. Our defense was always: “Give public school teachers the student/teacher ratio and resources these private schools have and watch the results”

Source:The Chronicle Herald article written by DAVID JACKSON Provincial Reporter

Do you think, in some cases, Private Schools for Special Needs children is the right choice?
Should these private schools receive public funding?

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