One of the staples of Charter Schools in America is that they perform better than the ‘average’ school. However, a new poll shows that charter schools take fewer special education students as well as english language learners than the normal public school system. This could contribute to the above average test scores of charter schools
An umbrella group for the city’s charter schools says its members outperformed district schools on state exams this year – but admits they serve fewer special-needs kids.
A study by the New York City Charter School Center says charters “have lower enrollment rates for students with disabilities [and] much lower rates for English language learners.”
District schools serve more than twice as many English language learners than charters, the report said. And just 12.7% of charter school students have disabilities, compared with 15.1% at district schools, the report says.
Still, Charter School Center CEO James Merriman says the demographics aren’t what boosted the charters’ state test scores above those of district schools by 11.2% in English and 0.7% in math this year.
“I don’t think the evidence suggests that it accounts for all of the difference,” said Merriman, noting that many charters have longer school days than district schools and more days of instruction.
It is illegal for charter schools to screen out certain students, but for years studies have shown the city’s charter schools serve fewer foreign-language speakers and kids with disabilities.
Mona Davids, president of the New York Charter Parents Association, said charter schools need to work harder to attract students with special needs and English language learners.
“Until charters serve the same numbers of these students, any comparison of test scores is worthless,” Davids said.
Merriman said charters around the city are working on initiatives to enroll more kids with disabilities and English language learners, including online applications in many languages and charter schools designed for kids with autism.
Taken from the Daily News By BEN CHAPMAN