Ch. 4 - Making Choice Work for Students With Special Needs (HFR '11)

January 2012

As charter schools expand to become a large part of a city’s public school offerings, a critical challenge is how to ensure that students with special needs have plentiful and effective school options. In this chapter, Robin Lake and Betheny Gross argue that charter schools have a mixed track record on this front, but the reasons that special education rates are often lower in charter schools are complex, and the solutions are not obvious.

What is clear is that when districts and charter schools work to resolve these issues, they must avoid re-creating a process-based system that has never served those students well in the past. Instead, they should aim for creative solutions that put choice to its best use, creating innovations that better serve some of the system’s most unique students.