Special-ed students in charter schools

Special-education students in charter schools deserve the same support as their counterparts in traditional public schools.  Unfortunately, that is not the case in New York City, where those enrolled in the Success Academy charter schools are denied the help they would otherwise get in regular public schools (“Special-ed kids suffer in de Blasio’s grudge against Success Academy,” New York Post, Jul. 21).

The Department of Education in New York City processes only three percent of special-ed applications for Success Academy within the legally required 60-day time period, as opposed to 66 percent for traditional public schools.  That’s outrageous, which is why a lawsuit has been filed by Success Academy on behalf of six parents.  Special-ed students shouldn’t be used as pawns by those opposed to charter schools for one reason or another.


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4 Replies to “Special-ed students in charter schools”

  1. My quick Google search shows only the cited NY Post article re this issue. Might want to hold judgment in abeyance pending further news coverage. Sounds like the NY Post article relies entirely on the lawsuit for its facts. It’s at least possible that it’s harder for the Dept of Ed to process special ed applications from charters than from public schools for legitimate administrative reasons.


  2. Labor Lawyer: You make an excellent point. But I’ve been closely following the disparity between treatment of special ed students in charter schools and those in traditional public schools in New York City. I have no brief for charter schools, including Success Academy, but the wait list for admission to charter schools there is long. Obviously, parents like them. When special ed students are involved, the disparity is particularly troubling. I don’t think we can deny the popularity of charter schools by so many parents much longer. Yes, charter play by different rules and that is clearly unfair. However, the demand persists.


  3. My first question has to be – do any of the six children have an I.E.P. or 504 plan?
    If they do, is the school claiming they do not have to honor them?
    If they do not, that is why it is taking so long for the process. Charter schools do not want students with disabilities.
    Massachusetts was the first state to have a disability law. It was called 766. Every city/town had its own 766 Parent Advocacy Group and they were very powerful. Lawyers volunteered their time to help students get the best education possible. Many times it meant the school district had to provide transportation to an outside placement. The parents in this case may be trying to get the charter school to pay for the outside placement.
    I feel we need more details.
    The federal government modeled their law from 766 and is called I.D.E.A..


  4. mathcoach2: Excellent points! Charter schools overall are indeed reluctant to enroll special-ed students. I suspect that Success Academy is no different in this regard. Yet what is going on in New York City is unique because of Mayor deBlasio’s opposition to their very existence. As a result, he has attempted to deny charter schools space in buildings and has erected other barriers.


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