Report shows fewer students with disabilities enrolled in charters schools than traditional public schools

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that found fewer students with disabilities enrolled in public charter schools (8.2%) than enrolled in traditional public schools (11.2%). Compared to traditional public schools, charter schools enrolled a lower percentage of students with intellectual disabilities (0.84% compared to 0.45%). Charter schools serve about 2 million students and must adhere to federal requirements, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). GAO said that the reasons for the discrepancy in enrollment of students with disabilities were not entirely clear. The Department of Education said in response to the report that it would issue new guidance to charter schools on their obligations to serve all students. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating charters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin to see if they are enrolling and serving students with disabilities adequately.

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