Challenges for Charter School with Special Education: Issues of Concern for Charter School Authorizers and Service Providers

Charter schools, as one type of school choice, have been attracting a growing number of students since first inception in Minnesota in 1991. Although charter schools are a fledgling reform, they are already a significant part of the federal and state efforts to improve schools and have a growing number of students. Like traditional public schools, charter schools accept all students equally. As a result, they are also obligated to support and serve students with disabilities and meet the requirements of constitutional provisions and federal laws enacted for students with disabilities. This article intends to provide a succinct literature review examining the operational and organizational challenges regarding the design and delivery of special education in the young charter school movement so that charter school authorizers and service providers are cognizant of the issues of concern when serving students with disabilities at charter schools. The literature was located through searching through the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), Google Scholar, and the Dissertation Abstracts International. Other information is gleaned from the U.S. Department of Education, Center for Education Reform, and the federal and state statutes regarding students with disabilities.