Feds Warn Charter Schools About Not Serving Special Needs Kids


Writes Chris Staiti for Bloomberg News:

U.S. charter schools must provide special-education services and avoid discrimination in admissions, academic services and athletics whether or not they receive federal funding, the Education Department said today.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, the department’s Office for Civil Rights reminded charter school operators of their obligations under federal civil rights laws. Charter schools, which are privately run public schools, are barred from discriminating on the basis of race, sex, national origin or disability.

“Federal civil rights laws, regulations and guidance that apply to charter schools are the same as those that apply to other public schools,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in the letter. The department “is committed to supporting the establishment of high-quality public charter schools from which all students can benefit.”

Charter schools have come under criticism for shunning special-needs students because of costs that can strain even the best-financed public school systems. Only 8 percent of students enrolled in charter schools have disabilities, compared with 11 percent in public schools, the Government Accounting Office said in a 2012 report.

Charter schools must also provide services for non-English speakers and establish non-discriminatory policies for discipline, Lhamon said in the letter. The department also provided guidance on racial diversity in admissions.

Scathing Purple Musings reported on the GAO study in 2012. State Impact and the Miami Herald found in 2011 that 86 percent of Florida charter schools do not serve special needs schools.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
This entry was posted in charter schools, EDUCATION, Florida, FLORIDA POLITICS and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Feds Warn Charter Schools About Not Serving Special Needs Kids

  1. It will be interesting to see how the profiteers handle this, as it cuts deeply into their bottom line…or, maybe they will spend their profits on attorneys to keep things at a status quo. I’m betting that a whole lot of them will just fold up shop and the he_ _ with the kids they now have.

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