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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The disastrous consequences school choice, vouchers and charters has for disabled children.

We have long known that charters take fewer disabled children than their public school counter parts

but what happens to the few that do attend? Well recent news reports indicate they have a rough time going. By themselves the examples below show a callousness towards the plight and needs of disabled children but when taken together they show a disturbing pattern of neglect towards our most needy children.

New Orleans lauded by Arne Duncan, who inappropriately said hurricane Katrina was the best thing that could have happened, and other for their charter schools recently lost a law suit where they admitted they had not been providing services to disabled children. From the Times Picayune.

The Louisiana Education Department, Orleans Parish School Board and Southern Poverty Law Center asked federal Judge Jay Zainey on Friday (Dec. 19) to approve a settlement in a landmarkspecial education suit. Plaintiffs said the Louisiana Department of Education and Orleans Parish School Board did not adequately educate children with disabilities in the fragmented network of charter and district schools that sprung up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Next we move to Pennsylvania where Charter Schools USA is attempting to take over an entire district and in doing so plan massive cuts to ESE staffs. From the York Dispatch:
Making comparisons: For example, the staffing matrix included in the proposed contract presented to the school board showed a plan for 16 special-education teachers district-wide.
Currently, there are 14 special-education teachers at William Penn Senior High School alone.
Across its eight buildings, the district currently employs 68 special-education teachers, according to information recently provided by Superintendent Eric Holmes.

Then there is Florida where some schools were paid extra to provide services but never did. From State Impact: A StateImpact Florida/Miami Herald investigation shows most charter schools in 
Florida are failing to serve students with severe disabilities.
Statewide, 86 percent of charter schools do not have any students classified as severely disabled.
That’s despite state and federal laws that require charter schools to give equal access to these students.

Here is another one from the world of vouchers.

From the Sun Sentinel, talking about private schools that receive vouchers: Florida spent $8.5 million in taxpayer money last year to provide vouchers to learning disabled students in Palm Beach County to attend private schools – but makes no effort to ensure the schools are providing the required services.

The law that created the vouchers does not require private schools to have anyone on staff with any sort of certification in dealing with children with learning disabilities. Nor are there public controls in place to check whether the schools are helping them.

Segregation, for profit, exclusion, counseling out, are all brought to you courtesy of the school choice movement and our most vulnerable children are paying the biggest price.


  1. That’s despite state and federal laws that require charter schools to give equal access to these students.

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  2. Laws are only for the poor masses.