Charter schools have long been criticized for not being as welcoming to students with disabilities or behavior problems as they are students without special needs. Lauren Morando Rhim, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools co-founder and executive director, said in a press release that while there are signs of improvement, “they can do better.”
“More parents of students with disabilities than ever are choosing charter schools, which is a positive sign,” she said, “and we believe charter schools can drive effective change so that all schools are able to provide families with the quality education, services, and supports they deserve and need.”
The report shows that in charters, 83.5% of students with disabilities spend the bulk of their day, at least 80%, in general classrooms — compared to 65.5% of special needs students in traditional schools. But the authors note it’s unclear whether charter schools have more students who can be successful in general classrooms or if they are struggling to provide programs for students with disabilities.