Representing children with special needs throughout california and nevada

Oakland Charter Excludes Special Needs Children

Generally, Federal and State law require all public schools, including charter and virtual schools, to serve all children regardless of their disability or behavioral challenges.

But reality doesn’t always reflect that requirement.

According to a recent article, the nearly 40 charter schools in the Oakland Unified School District educate very few of Oakland’s highest-needs students.

Reportedly, only about 5 percent of students in the city’s charter schools were in special-education programs last year, compared with more than 11 percent at the traditional schools, according to the state Department of Education.

In general, that means charter schools can have a financial and academic edge over traditional public schools, given that special-needs students typically require costly services and post test scores and graduation rates well below other students.

For example, at Oakland’s three American Indian Charter schools, which are among the highest-performing schools in the state, there were a total of 12 special-education children out of 1,200 students. Some other Oakland charter schools had fewer than five disabled students, and three didn’t have any at all. Charter schools can also set their own discipline policies, which means they can encourage students with behavior problems to leave and return to a regular district school, according to the report.

For more information, please follow the link to online news source SFGate. Be sure to read some of the comments below the article: http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Oakland-Fewer-special-needs-students-in-charter-4992263.php

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