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Analysis of Federal Education Data Concludes Charter Schools Suspend Black, Disabled Students at Disproportionate Rates

Analysis of Federal Education Data Concludes Charter Schools Suspend Black, Disabled Students at Disproportionate Rates

New analysis of federal education data has concluded that the country’s charter schools suspend black and disabled students at a disproportionate rate that is higher than traditional public schools.

"The analysis of charter school data from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights of close to 5,000 charters was done by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles, a nonprofit civil rights research and policy organization,” said The New York Times.

Though charter schools are publicly funded, they are also privately run and for this reason can hold to students to more intense behavioral expectations.

Charter school networks on the extreme end of the disciplinary spectrum, like New York’s Success Academy, are frequently in the news for allegedly isolating students through such policies. (The New York Times notes that the controversial network was not included in the report because disciplinary data was conflicting on a state and federal level).

"Based on data from the 2011-12 school year, the report found that charter schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels suspended 7.8 percent of students, compared with 6.7 percent of students in noncharter schools,” said The New York Times.

"Among students with disabilities, charter schools suspended 15.5 percent of students, compared with 13.7 percent at noncharters. At the extreme end, there were 235 charter schools that suspended more than half of their students with disabilities.”

Though Hillary Clinton received flak for her comments, she recently said that she is wary of charter schools because she doesn’t believe they welcome the hard-to-teach students, and if they do, they “don’t keep them.”

Certainly, “[a]dvocates for the disabled were particularly concerned about the higher rates of suspension at charters, given that charter schools enroll a lower proportion of students with disabilities than traditional public schools.”

The director of Center for Civil Rights Remedies told the New York Times that not all charter schools should be viewed as bad because many in the study “did not suspend students at high rates.”

Supporters of charter schools believe they provide parents with more options for their child’s education.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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