One Set of Data/Four Unique Perspectives on Authorizing and Special Education

One Set of Data/Four Unique Perspectives on Authorizing and Special Education

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Excerpt from Robin Lake's commentary, which was originally published on the National Association of Charter School Authorizers' website:

Authorizers have an essential role to play in assuring that charter schools follow all special education laws and produce great results for kids with disabilities. For that reason, I was very glad to see NACSA surveying and publishing information about how authorizers oversee special education.

On the positive side, most authorizers surveyed are collecting and monitoring special education enrollment data. These authorizers generally (nearly three-quarters) believe that charters should enroll students with disabilities at rates representative of the community. Yet only half believe that authorizers should enforce proportionate enrollment. On its face, this may seem problematic, but the reasons to be dubious about enrollment quotas are legitimate and well documented.

That said, authorizers have other avenues for ensuring representativeness of the community and responsiveness to the community’s needs that do not infringe on charter autonomy. As Massachusetts has done, authorizers can focus on level of effort, tracking recruitment and marketing strategies to make sure schools are known to families and open and welcoming to students with special needs.


Read the full commentary.

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