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Wed Jun 20, 2012, 08:33 AM

Charter Schools Fall Short on Disabled

A new government report shows that charter schools are not enrolling as high a portion of special-education students as traditional public schools, despite federal laws mandating that publicly financed schools run by private entities take almost every disabled student seeking to enroll.

Kelly Fischer says she visited three New Orleans charter schools, and all told her that they couldn't provide services to her disabled son, Noah.

The report, published Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is the first comprehensive study focused on charter schools' enrollment of special-needs students, which has been a central issue in debates over those schools' rapid growth in the U.S.

The report showed that special-education students—those with diagnosed disabilities from Down Syndrome to attention-deficit disorder—made up 8.2% of charter school students during the 2009-2010 school year. While that was up from 7.7% the year before, it was below the average at traditional public schools of 11.2% in 2009-2010, and 11.3% the previous year.

Are we surprised?

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Charter Schools Fall Short on Disabled (Original post)
antigop Jun 2012 OP
madrchsod Jun 2012 #1
MichiganVote Jun 2012 #3
NYC_SKP Jun 2012 #2
sulphurdunn Jun 2012 #4

Response to antigop (Original post)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 08:42 AM

1. a friend taught english and band at a grade school in the chicago burbs

to keep from failing the achievement goals the system moved all the special needs kids to one school. the other four schools achieved their goals. then they cut back on music and band so she was placed teaching math to 4th graders. she said she felt bad for her students because she was awful at math and she had zero experience in teaching it.

so i`m not surprised at all

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 12:21 PM

3. Thats illegal


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Response to antigop (Original post)

Wed Jun 20, 2012, 10:29 AM

2. Disabled enrolment rose in charters, but fell in traditional public schools.


That the numbers aren't higher is largely the fault of parents, not the schools.

Parents might not know of the charter schools available to them, or they might buy into the negative propaganda.

In any event, federal law and regulation require public charter schools to accept the disabled.

Enrollment Of Students With Disabilities In Charter Schools

Federal law and regulation prohibit any public school, including charter schools, from denying admission to any student on the basis of a disability, or the nature of or extent of a disability. More specifically, a student with disabilities must be afforded the opportunity to participate in a charter school (Code of Federal Regulations Section 104.4(b)(1)(i); Section 504, Vocational Rehabilitation Act; Title II, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; California Government Code Section 11135; California Education Code (EC) Section 220). Further, EC Section 47605(d)(1) states a charter school “shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of…disability.” “A charter school shall admit all pupils who wish to attend school” (EC Section 47605(d)(2)(A)) except as provided by those provisions related to a public random drawing. Despite the existence or lack of a program for a student with disabilities at a charter school, enrollment may not be denied (CFR Section 104.4(b)(3); EC Section 47646(a)).

As California public schools, charter schools are subject to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended in 2004 (IDEA). Students with disabilities attending charter schools and their families retain all rights under IDEA (34 CFR Section 300.209(a)). Students with disabilities enrolled in charter schools must receive services in the same manner and to the same extent as other schools (34 CFR Section 300.209(b)(1)(i)). To assure adequate resources, monies apportioned for the purposes of special education must be expended exclusively for special education programs (EC Section 56836.04(b)).

If violations of special education law and regulations are alleged, there can be a request for direct state intervention to investigate the specific allegation(s). This may be accomplished by telephoning the Procedural Safeguards Referral Service Unit at 800-926-0648, or by contacting the unit through the mail at:

Procedural Safeguards Referral Service
Special Education Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 2401
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901


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Response to antigop (Original post)

Fri Jun 22, 2012, 04:25 PM

4. Students with disabilities,


Last edited Fri Jun 22, 2012, 05:24 PM - Edit history (1)

cost more money and pull down standardized test scores. Of course charter schools, and especially for profit charter schools, don't want too many of them. They just aren't cost effective.

This statement: Eva Moskowitz, who runs the high-performing Success Academy Charter Schools in New York, said one reason for the enrollment disparity is because some charter schools try to move students out of special education through intensive instruction. About 7% of disabled students at Success Academy move out of "special education" classification, compared to 1% for the school district, she said.

I've been a special education teacher for 25 years, and that statement should launch an investigation by the DOE into the way Ms. Moskowitz's schools evaluate students with special needs. In essence she is claiming that 7% of all special needs students at her "high performing" (I don't think I've ever heard of her politically favored charter system refereed to without the modifier "high performing" tacked on the front of it) Success Academy Charter Schools. That so many special needs students no longer meet the criteria for special education services every three years at her schools is nothing short of miraculous. The statement further implies, without subtlety, that she does a better job than the public schools. She certainly has plenty of chutzpah. I would very much like a chance at analyzing the data and rationale used to dismiss those mostly elementary school students. But of course, that information is confidential.

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