Can IDEA be addressed appropriately to meet the needs of disabled students in Charter Schools?
This is a tricky scenario to pin down. As a special
education teacher in a charter school, I have, we have a ratio of special
education students to general education that is 2% higher than the local public
school district ratio. This runs equal to the findings of Lake, Miron,
& Noguera (2014) where 3% is the measured ratio nationally.
Under FAPE and IDEA, we are required to meet the needs
of our students and are under review of federal and state agencies to ensure we
are in compliance. However, as Estes (2004) points out 3 areas
where charter schools can fall short in meeting the needs of disabled students
are in basic discrimination, expertise, and funding, I have seen all of these
play out within my own charter school.
Students apply, selected through a lottery, and accepted.
However, data is quickly collected and reported. Students who do not fit within
our framework and capabilities are turned away. This is due to our lack of
funding to provide a fully accessible environment to physically disable
students and the fact the building’s age allows us to turn those students away
under IDEA. Finally, the lack of experience of our special education department
of 3 is woefully inexperienced. This includes me in that description. Two of us
are emergency certified and only 1 is fully certified. Our overall staff of 17
too lack teaching experiences overall with an average of 4 years of experience.
This withstanding, the students we do serve are well-served.
Under the leadership of a well informed and highly trained special education
director who understands our culture and situation, thoughtful training and
graceful guidance really allow us to meet the needs and demands of servicing a
special education population under the federal guidelines of IDEA. So yes, IDEA
can be appropriately addressed to meet the needs of disable students as long as
the institution is capable of meeting those needs.
R. A., Jr. (2012). Culture clash: Special education in charter schools. North
Carolina Law Review, (90), 656-717. Retrieved October 22, 2015.Mary, B. E.
(2004). Estes, M. B. (2004). Choice for all? Charter schools and students
with special needs. The Journal of Special Education, 37(4), 257-267.
R. J., Miron, G., & Noguera, P. A. (2014). Should charter schools
enroll more special education students? Education Next,14(4) .