A new report by the Miami Herald and StateImpact Florida – a National Public Radio initiative - confirms CEC’s ongoing concern that many charter schools are failing to serve students with disabilities, particularly students with significant disabilities.
According to the report No Choice: How Florida Charter Schools are Failing to Serve Students with Disabilities, 86% of charter schools in Florida do not enroll a student with significant disabilities, a trend that is occurring in California, Louisiana, New York and Texas. While charter schools differ in operational practices from traditional public schools, they remain public schools and therefore, must adhere to federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
With federal support for charter schools intensifying over the last few years, CEC has urged Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that charter schools are indeed accessible to students with disabilities. In June, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Charter Schools Act, legislation which included many CEC-backed provisions that strengthen protections for students with disabilities. This legislation now awaits action by the full House of Representatives. (Click here for additional CEC Policy Insider blog postings on charter schools.)
Federal initiatives such as Race to the Top and increased funding promise to support the expansion of charter schools in years to come. Tell us how charter schools are serving students with disabilities in your area and/or how traditional schools are impacted by replying to this post or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .