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Readers predict problems for charters taking on more special needs students

On Monday we asked our readers: Should charter schools be asked to serve the same proportion of students with special needs as district-run schools? If so, how much oversight should districts have over these programs and how much flexibility should charters have to create new programs for students with special needs?

We asked this because, as we reported last week, Denver Public Schools is working with its charters to offer services for more students with severe needs. You can (and should) read Jaclyn Zubrzycki’s report here.

Rocco Fuschetto, superintendent of the Ignacio School District, emailed:

If charter schools want to be in the game, they need to be on the same playing field as any district and accept all students as we do in the public schools. Once that happens, you will see their scores drop and public schools will out- perform many charter schools.

Reader Bob Harold thinks if Denver charter schools start taking on more special needs students their scores will go down and will prove a longstanding claim that some charters are self-selecting students:

If they start accepting special education students then it’s a tacit admission that even though they’re “public schools” they’ve been excluding special needs students in the past. And their test scores will start going down since they won’t be able to systematically exclude lower-performing students.

If they continue to refuse to serve special needs students then it’s just more evidence that people like me will use to argue that “public” charters systematically exclude the most needy students (which artificially inflates charter’s test scores) and that charters are simply a mechanism to resegregate public schools.

As always, we invite you to be part of the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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