At 8 years old, Jeremiah Adams is starting to read for the first time. He was delayed several years in public school because of his slow reading, but his family says this new private school is changing him. He notices his surroundings in new ways, approaches learning differently, even insists on going to school.
“Before where he wouldn’t even pick up a book, now he wants to read," says grandmother Petra Delarosa. "Now we’re driving to school, he’ll see a word like on a billboard or something he’ll say, ‘Nana, how do you say this?’ ‘Nana did I say that right?' 'What does that mean, Nana?' Before he wouldn’t do that at all.”
This fall, Adams is one of 100 special education students around the state who moved from public schools to private ones under Arkansas’s first voucher program, the Succeeds Scholarship.
The program was approved during the 2015 legislative session with an initial $800,000 in public funding to be managed by the Reform Alliance, a Walton Family Foundation project.