A GAO study shows charters enroll 3% fewer special education students, but is this difference down to labeling and better early education standards?
A GAO study has found that charter schools enroll 3% fewer special education students than traditional public schools. Disabled students represent 11.2% of students attending traditional schools — and only 8.2% of students enrolled in charter schools for the 2009-10 year. Data was sourced from the Department of Education.
Lisa Snell, writing for the Reason Foundation Out of Control Policy blog, finds the premise of the GAO report suspect. She draws a distinction between serving a child and merely enrolling them, or labeling a wider variety of children as special education. Indeed, Snell suggests that while the original analysis implies that public schools are serving special needs children better by having a higher rate of special education designation, an equally like explanation is that public schools are more experienced at gaming the funding system.