Special Education in California Charter Schools: All Students Welcome

California Charter Schools Association
15 Apr, 2015

Charter public schools are often criticized for serving fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools. Opponents often assume that this is due to charters denying access to difficult-to-serve students; however, very few studies examine the factors that contribute to differences in enrollment. Two recent studies concluded that parent choice, as well as school practices for classifying and educating students with differing needs, have a major impact on special education enrollment in charter schools, effectively defying some of the persistent myths around special education in charter schools1,2. This study adds to this growing body of research by examining the effect a charter school’s legal identity has on the percentage and range of students with disabilities served in California charter schools.