Charter Schools and Special Education: Ensuring Legal Compliance and Effectiveness Through Capacity Building
49 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2021 Last revised: 21 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 10, 2021
Charter schools often struggle to meet their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) to appropriately educate students with disabilities. They tend to enroll a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools, enroll fewer students with severe disabilities, educate more students in the general education classrooms, and suspend and expel students with disabilities at a high rate. Because capacity is the primary reason charter schools struggle with enrolling and serving students with disabilities, this Article proposes that states should compel charter schools to demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity to fulfill all of the mandates of the IDEA. For charter schools that are unable to demonstrate sufficient capacity, states should compel that they link to larger special education infrastructures. But rather than mandate a single type of linkage or infrastructure, this Article suggests that states should take advantage of the flexibility in federal law and create a variety of pathways for charter schools to establish sufficient capacity.
Keywords: education law, Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, charter schools
JEL Classification: I21, I24, K10, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation