Charter Schools Still Enroll Fewer Disabled Students

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Charter schools in most states continue to enroll proportionately fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools, a new government report shows.

Across the country, disabled students represented 8.2 percent of all students enrolled during the 2009-10 year in charter schools, compared with 11.2 percent of students attending traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis of Department of Education data.

In the previous year, 7.7 percent of students in charter schools had disabilities, compared with 11.3 percent in traditional public schools. Data covered students ages 6 to 21 in the 40 states that have charter schools.

Critics of charter schools, which are financed with taxpayer money but typically enjoy more autonomy than district public schools, have said the charters skim the best students from their communities and are less likely to enroll students with special needs.

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