Stalled Push to Close Charter’s Disabled-Student Gap

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, June 22, 2012

As a new federal report found that charter schools aren’t enrolling as many special-education students as traditional public schools, legislation designed to address that imbalance in New York remains stalled.

The review by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, identified the disparity at the national level without breaking out state-level findings. Special-education students made up 8.2% of charter school students during the 2009-2010 school year, below the average at traditional public schools of 11.2%.

But the national pattern plays out in New York as well.

In the Journal’s report on the new study, Success Academy Charter Schools founder and former New York City Council Member Eva Moskowitz explained the enrollment disparity by noting that 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.

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