Do Charter Schools Serve Special-Needs Students?

Policymakers rightly want to know whether charter schools serve their fair share of students with disabilities. The fairest answer may surprise some people, however. In some cases, charter schools serve the same number of special-needs students as their regular public school peers; in others, as many have charged, charters serve fewer of these students.

Certainly, there are elements of special education in the charter school sector that are problematic, but our organizations’ recent analysis of New York state’s special education enrollment illustrates why these challenges require a more sophisticated approach.

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