Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of WA at Bothell researchers Sivan Tuchman, Christine Campbell, and Georgia Heyward answer common questions about special education in charter schools, citing local and national data.
Charter schools are public schools and, like traditional district schools, are legally required to be accessible to any student who wishes to enroll. Equitable access is an important part of charter schools fulfilling their obligation to families and to the public. Looking at Washington within the national context, Washington’s charter schools appear to serve students with disabilities at a substantially higher rate than the national charter school average (16.1 percent versus 10.6 percent) and at a higher rate than the Washington state average (12.4 percent). They are also serving a wide range of disabilities, including students with high needs, and serving a majority in a mostly inclusive environment. There is no evidence of push out or counseling out, and in a number of schools there are enrollment increases in special education midyear as more students transfer in.
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