Bruno: An Awkward Defense Of Charter Schools' SPED Services
Mike Petrilli is annoyed with the GAO report finding that charter schools "have a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools". His complaint is that the report (and those who commissioned it or have used it to criticize charters) are implicitly - and wrongly - assuming that "every single public school is expected to serve students with every single type of disability."
In the comments to his post Leonie Haimson points out that this runs somewhat contrary to the rhetoric of many charter supporters. More to the point, though, it's not even clear why he thinks the GAO is assuming that every individual school should be perfectly representative demographically, so the objection seems a little bit like a straw man.
As far as I can tell the report only assumes that the fact that students with disabilities are underrepresented in the whole charter sector suggests that there are some problems with inclusion at the individual school level in some places. And I think that's a plausible enough assumption, especially since it's not hard to imagine why charters might struggle to- or prefer not to - enroll students with disabilities.
Now, maybe Mike wants to argue that the charter sector as a whole shouldn't be expected to be representative or that the charter sector is in fact educating students with disabilities so well that the discrepancies in enrollment are completely explained by students shedding the "disabled" label. Those are very different arguments to make, however. They're also probably much more challenging arguments to make persuasively. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)