Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Charter School Two-Step in Minneapolis

Charter schools can be an effective tool for providing an appropriate education to students with disabilities.  But too many seem most interested in keeping those students out.  Too often, we see what I call the charter school two-step.  In step one, a district turns over an underperforming or failing school (defined largely by test scores) to a charter operator.  In step two, the charter operator, immediately or some time down the road, turns away many of its students with disabilities (who -- coincidentally or not -- often have lower test scores).  An ongoing lawsuit highlights the extent of this problem in New Orleans -- where more than two-thirds of students attend charter schools.  And a recent GAO report discusses the problem in a nationwide context.  Today, via Diane Ravitch's blog, I came across this well-reported story that documents the same sort of conduct in a Minneapolis charter school.

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