Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy National Charter Schools Week!

By proclamation of our President:

My Administration is dedicated to providing parents with more choices so that their children will have the best opportunity to gain the skills necessary to compete and succeed in the global economy. Through the No Child Left Behind Act, we are setting high standards, expanding parents' options, and closing the achievement gap. Charter schools are getting results and helping guide children across the country on the path to a better life.

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NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 29 through May 5, 2007, as National Charter Schools Week.
Now here’s your present:
Most New Orleans public school students may be enrolled in charter schools these days, but many charters are avoiding taking special education students, particularly those with profound disabilities, a violation of state and federal law, critics charge.

While Algiers Charter Schools serve a substantial portion of special-needs children, their unique eight-school bloc is an exception. Eleven of 22 east bank charter schools have special-ed populations under 5 percent, according to the latest state data. By comparison, just three of the other 30 schools open in the city on Feb. 1, when the data were collected, had special ed populations of less than 5 percent.

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State data also show that most east bank charters have disproportionately fewer special education students with what experts call the most challenging disabilities.

For example, only 59 percent of east bank charters are serving students with mental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, or emotional problems, such as bipolar disorder. By contrast, virtually every other school in the city includes these students; similarly, only 23 percent of non-Algiers charters served autistic students, compared with 53 percent in the Recovery District and more than 75 percent in Algiers and the five run by the local School Board. Charters outside of Algiers served no students with multiple disabilities, such as a learning disability combined with a physical disability, whereas every other system in the city had at least one school serving those students.
So, East Bank charter schools have less special ed students than RSD schools. And, those less special ed students at the East Bank charter schools have less challenging disabilities.

I wonder how that will affect test scores…

I wonder if people will consider this when evaluating the success of the charter schools…

“…we are setting high standards, expanding parents' options, and closing the achievement gap. Charter schools are getting results and helping guide children across the country on the path to a better life.”

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