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Ed Equality Coalition Urges Charter Schools to Support Students With Emotional & Learning Disabilities

Ed Equality Coalition Urges Charter Schools to Support Students with Emotional & Learning Disabilities

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools released a joint statement yesterday in partnership with several organizations such as the Council for Exceptional Children, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, The Advocacy Institute and more to urge the country’s charter schools to do a better job of including students with disabilities into respective school climates.

While the statement acknowledges that many high quality charter schools already work to include students from all backgrounds and learning abilities, it also acknowledges that many charter schools face criticism for "their student discipline practices — including suspension, expulsion, and other actions resulting in the removal of students from the classroom — that disproportionately exclude and impact students with disabilities.”

In order to work on resolving the problem, the statement urges charter schools to work on integrating effective behavioral management in order to best address the complex social and emotional needs that different students have.

The statement urges all charter schools to commit to training teachers how to recognize that different disabilities affect different students and that cultural diversity impacts "learning needs, communication, and behavior.”

Other recommendations include understanding the science of trauma to turn challenging behaviors into opportunities for learning. It also recommends using alternative disciplinary practices other than suspensions and expulsions that have been proven to negatively affect student learning.

"Given important autonomies, public charter schools have the opportunity to create effective, inclusive learning environments and to be exemplars of educational equity, quality and innovation. We collectively challenge the sector to realize its full potential in benefiting ALL students and to implement effective positive and equitable disciplinary practices that are essential to assuring student success,” the statement concludes.

The joint statement comes just a week after the U.S. Department of Education released its latest batch of civil rights data that revealed further insight into improvements the country’s public schools need to make to ensure equal education for all.

Out of 100,000 students disciplined, the report revealed 60,000 of these students to be students with disabilities. While this statement focuses specifically on charter schools to set an example for all, such data supports that the issue is rampant across public schools as well.

Read the full statement.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

6/14/2016

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