Specious on special ed
Tension has long been visible between charter-school proponents and some within the special-education community. The short version goes like this: Charter schools, which are typically mission-oriented, small, and underfunded, find it hard to service every sort of disability within their classrooms appropriately. So they counsel some youngsters to seek other service providers better attuned to their particular needs. This practice riles many SPED advocates. It angers districts, too, as they are most often obligated to educate these high-need—and often high-cost—students. We understand the complaints, but consider the practicalities: No individual school (regular or charter) can serve every type of disability. Large districts can create specialized programs at particular schools (say, for students with severe autism, or those with Down Syndrome); small districts team up with other LEAs or “Intermediate Units” to do the same. If a school cannot provide the necessary resources to ensure a student’s success, then that school might not be the best place for the child and other options need to be considered. That goes for all public schools—including charters.
“South Florida charter schools admit few special needs children,” by Kathleen McGrory and Scott Hiaasen, The Miami-Herald, December 17, 2011.
“Can Charter Schools Legally Turn Away Kids with Severe Disabilities?,” by Sarah Gonzalez, StateImpact, December 21, 2011.
Category: Charters & Choice
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