Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Comparison of the Numbers of Special Ed Students in District and Charter Schools

Ed Week has an article here comparing the number of special ed. students in charter and district schools.  It finds that the numbers are pretty equal in secondary schools, but higher in elementary schools.

I would love to see researchers deal with these questions:

Are there any differences in the make-up of the sped population in district and charter schools? 

Do the services for sped students differ in the district and charter schools?  The cost per student?  I know that many district schools have put programs in place to deal with kids with more severe disabilities.  Have charters? 

How many of the charter students return to the district school for their sped services?

What is the drop out, or expulsion, rate of sped kids from district schools?  From charter schools?

Since the difference in cost, and resources needed, to educate a student with mild learning disabilities, and a student with multiple, severe disabilities is huge, without this kind of information I don’t see the point of simply comparing numbers.


  1. Thank you for this comment at Education Week. The authors' "analysis" was extremely weak and you very deftly pointed out the enormous holes in their "research."

    They also failed to look at how charter schools that specialize in serving kids with special needs bring the overall charter school special ed average population up. In fact, most charter schools serve fewer than 8% (and in some states only 6%) of kids with IEPs.