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Friday, June 22, 2012

Charter schools fall short in special ed

Posted by on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 6:13 AM

This finding in the Wall Street Journal is hardly surprising, given how charter schools work hard to shape student bodies in ways that improve chances of success, as measured by test scores. Weed out troublemakers; weed out kids whose parents don't participate; set up hard-to-reach accelerated offerings in higher income areas. It's all good for charters. Now this:

According to The Wall Street Journal, a report published by the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found 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. The GAO report is the first comprehensive study focused on charter schools’ enrollment of special needs students.

...Critics have contended that charter schools refuse to enroll special education students, or push them out once enrolled, to save money or boost school-wide test scores. Charter school operators and supporters say their enrollment numbers are lower partly because many parents of special needs children choose to enroll in traditional schools that often are more experienced in providing such services, or in private schools that can give those students individualized attention.

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