Putting Education Reform To The Test

Not Just Florida’s Problem: New York City Charter Schools Have Fewer Children With Disabilities

Students with disabilities are less likely to be students at charter schools.

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Students with disabilities are less likely to be students at charter schools.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington has released a study showing that charter schools in New York City are less likely to serve children with disabilities than traditional public schools in New York.

StateImpact Florida has reported on the exclusion of children with disabilities from Florida charter schools. It’s part of a national trend. A 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office highlighted national disparities in the numbers of students with disabilities attending charter schools.

This new look at New York City schools points out a certain amount of self-exclusion from charter schools, but goes on to detail how more factors are at play. From the CRPE summary:

  • Students with disabilities are less likely to apply to charter schools in kindergarten than are regular enrollment students. This is the primary driver of the gap in special education enrollments.

  • The gap grows as students progress through elementary grades, largely because charter schools are less likely than district schools to place students in special education—and less likely to keep them there.

  • The gap also grows as students transfer between charter and district schools. Between kindergarten and third grade, greater proportions of regular education students enter charter schools, compared to students with special needs.

  • There is great mobility among special education students, whether they attend a charter or traditional public school. Close to a third of students in special education leave their school by the fourth year of attendance, whether they are enrolled in charters or traditional public schools.

What do you make of the findings? Leave us a comment below.



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