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Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools Special Education and Discipline

Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools Special Education and Discipline

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Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools Special Education and Discipline

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  1. Students with Disabilities in Charter SchoolsSpecial Education and Discipline September 24, 2014 Charlie Wysong

  2. Agenda • Introduction • Charter schools in Illinois: Legal Overview • Charter Schools Around the Nation • Advocacy for Students with Disabilities • Access and enrollment • Securing appropriate special education services • School discipline • Questions

  3. Introduction • Protection & Advocacy agency for Illinois • Special Education Clinic • Charter School Project funded by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation. • Charlie Wysong • (312) 895-7340 • Charlie@Equipforequality.org • Helpline (intake): 866-KIDS-046 [866-543-7046]

  4. What is a charter school? • A publicly funded, privately run school. • Started in 1991 in Minnesota, with AFT support. • Illinois Charter School Law: 105 ILCS 5/27A-1 (1996) • Authorizers: • Local school district • Illinois State Charter School Commission (4 schools)

  5. Illinois Context Source: Illinois State Board of Education, 2011-12 and 2012-13 Illinois Charter School Biennial Report (Jan. 2014), p. 13.

  6. Charter Schools in Illinois Source: INCS: http://incschools.org/charters/find_a_charter_school/search_map_old/

  7. Illinois Context Source: Illinois State Board of Education, 2011-12 and 2012-13 Illinois Charter School Biennial Report (Jan. 2014), p. 12.

  8. Illinois Context Source: Illinois State Board of Education, 2011-12 and 2012-13 Illinois Charter School Biennial Report (Jan. 2014), p. 23.

  9. Illinois Context Source: Illinois State Board of Education, 2011-12 and 2012-13 Illinois Charter School Biennial Report (Jan. 2014), p. 15.; Data from CPS website as of fall 2013.

  10. In Chicago • 26 ‘solo’ charters with 1 campus • Stand-alone charters have about 9,00 students (17%) • 16 networks with 106 campuses • Networks have 45,200 students (83%) • The top 10 networks have 75% of the students. Source: EFE analysis of CPS data.

  11. Illinois Context Source: Data from CPS website as of fall 2013. ISBE enrollment counts by district, fall 2013. Illinois has 863 school districts, per the ISBE Interactive School Report Card.

  12. Illinois Context Source: EFE compilation of CPS press releases.

  13. Chicago as a Portfolio District For a high school student (198 total high schools): • 1 neighborhood school [52 total in the city] • 10 Selective Enrollment • 28 Career & Technical Education • 19 Alternative Schools • 6 Magnet • 7 Contract or Lottery Schools • 6 Military Academies • 71 Charter schools Source: EFE compilation of data from CPS.edu.

  14. Choice Example Source: CPS.edu, school locator screen shot.

  15. Legal Framework • “A charter school is exempt from all other State laws and regulations in the School Code governing public schools and local school board policies, except the following:“ • Illinois School Student Records Act • Mandatory Abuse Reporting • Background Checks • School Accountability Report Cards • [partial list] 105 ILCS 5/27A-5(g)

  16. Legal Framework for Students With Disabilities • A charter school shall be subject to all federal and State laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, marital status, or need for special education services. 105 ILCS 5/27A-4(a) • IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, ADA • U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights “Dear Colleague” Letter of May 14, 2014 • http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201405-charter.pdf

  17. Legal Framework for Students With Disabilities

  18. Oversight of Special Education in Charter Schools • School District as LEA • Direct staff oversight • School District as Authorizer • Negotiates and enforces the charter • ISBE • Certification process for new, revised, and renewed charters • Certification Rubric Form 34-50A • Annual Reports: Form 87-13 • Codified in new regulations: Adopted September 18, 2014 • Responds to parent special education complaints • U.S. Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights

  19. New Illinois Charter School Law • (g) A charter school shall comply with all provisions of this Article; , the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act; all federal and State laws and rules applicable to public schools that pertain to special education and the instruction of English language learners, referred to in this Code as "children of limited English-speaking ability"; and its charter. Illinois Public Act 098-0639 (effective 6/9/2014)

  20. New Illinois Charter School Laws • Illinois Public Act 098-0640 (effective 6/9/2014) • Funding follows the student throughout the year • Illinois Public Act 098-0640 (effective 1/1/2015) • Transparency of admissions (videotape lottery) • Submit waitlists to authorizer • “Charter schools may undertake additional intake activities, including without limitation student essays, school-parent compacts, or open houses, but in no event may a charter school require participation in these activities as a condition of enrollment.”

  21. National Charter School Laws • National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. See: http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home

  22. National Charter School Growth • Find more information at: http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home

  23. National Charter School Growth • Find more information at: http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home

  24. National: Disability Access • GAO Study June 2012

  25. National Test Results • CREDO Study June 2013

  26. National Test Results • CREDO Study June 2013

  27. National Test Results • CREDO Study June 2013 See Also: COPAA “Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities” 2012.

  28. Special Education Charter Schools • About 100 charter schools nationwide focus on students with disabilities. • E.g. • Arizona Autism Charter School (Phoenix) • South Florida Autism Charter School (Miami) • New York Center for Autism Charter School (NYC) • Dynamic Community Charter School (NC) Arianna Prothero, “Special Education Charters Renew Inclusion Debate,” Education Week, Sept. 17, 2014, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/09/17/04specialneedscharters.h34.html

  29. National Regulation • May 2010 amendment to New York Charter School Act requires: • Enrollment & retention targets. • “good faith effort” “the charter school shall demonstrate good faith efforts to attract and retain a comparable or greater enrollment of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students when compared to the enrollment figures for such students in the school district in which the charter school is located” New York Education Law sec. 2854(2)(a)

  30. New Orleans • Recovery School District is 100% charter this fall.* • P.B., et al. v. Pastorek, Southern Poverty Law Center et al. (2010) • http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket/new-orleans-special-education. • Complaint by Loyola University New Orleans College of Law May 2014 • http://media.nola.com/education_impact/other/4.15.2014%20Carver%20Complaint%20For%20Release.pdf

  31. Washington DC • DOJ complaint by the Bazelon Center May 2011 • http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ZHsqwTj8U78%3D&tabid=77 • Alleges: • Systematic exclusion from charter schools • Segregation through the concentration of students with disabilities and over-use of private placements. • Status: Pending with the Department of Justice See Also: COPAA “Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities” 2012.

  32. Charter Schools in Illinois Challenges facing students with disabilities: 1. Enrollment and Access 2. Appropriate Special Education Services 3. School Discipline

  33. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Federico  Waitoller, Josh Radinsky, AgataTrzaska, & Daniel Maggin, A Longitudinal Comparison of Enrollment Patterns of Students Receiving Special Education Services in Chicago Charter and  Neighborhood Public Schools (May 2014), available at http://ceje.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Waitoller-spec-ed-FINAL-compressed.pdf.

  34. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Federico  Waitoller, Josh Radinsky, AgataTrzaska, & Daniel Maggin, A Longitudinal Comparison of Enrollment Patterns of Students Receiving Special Education Services in Chicago Charter and  Neighborhood Public Schools (May 2014), available at http://ceje.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Waitoller-spec-ed-FINAL-compressed.pdf.

  35. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Placement during the 2013-14 School Year: Data from Chicago Public Schools

  36. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Possible causes: • Counseling out • Parental preference or skepticism of charters • Early-intervention link to traditional public schools • Informal dissuasion • Removal or refusal of special education eligibility • Discipline • Use of 504 plans instead of IEPs

  37. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Informal issues • Applications request disability information • ‘We don’t have that service’ during visits • Lack of non-discrimination statements • Only included on a handful of charter applications • Required in New York

  38. Challenge 1: National Evidence • Marcus Winters, “Understanding the Charter School Special Education Gap: Evidence from Denver, Colorado” CRPE (June 2014). • http://www.crpe.org/publications/understanding-charter-school-special-education-gap-evidence-denver-colorado • Parent choice, eligibility decisions, transfers. • Marcus Winters, “Why the Gap? Special Education and New York City Charter Schools” CRPE (September 2013). • http://www.crpe.org/publications/why-gap-special-education-and-new-york-city-charter-schools. • Parent choice, eligibility decisions, transfers

  39. Challenge 1: Enrollment & Access Advocacy Tips • Inform parents • Name the discrimination • Document • Policy changes

  40. Challenge 2: Securing Appropriate Services Coordination with School District • District has legal responsibility • District controls access to specialized resources • Charter teaches the student and (often) controls staff Tips • Know the players • Find a friend • Contact your “Diverse Learner Support Leader” (SSA)

  41. Challenge 2: Securing Appropriate Services • Lack of resources • Few existing programs, small scale • Resistance to change • Staff cover multiple schools • Average 0.5 FTE Social Workers per school in Chicago • Only 22 Social Workers are full time at a single school • 4 high school, 18 elementary Source: EFE analysis of CPS related service staff schedules.

  42. Challenge 2: Securing Appropriate Services Staffing: Lack of experience Source: INCS Data Finder: http://incschools.org/charters/charter-school-data-finder/data-illinois-charter-overview/comparative_teacher_and_staff_compensation_data

  43. Challenge 2: Securing Appropriate Services Staffing: Lack of experience • 2013-14 in charter schools: • 313 TFA teachers • 450 former TFA teachers Source: Rebecca Harris, Teach For America Placement, Catalyst Chicago (Nov. 7, 2013), available athttp://www.catalyst-chicago.org/news/2013/11/07/64171/record-teach-america-placement.

  44. Challenge 2: Securing Appropriate Services • Staffing • Lack of experience • Non-traditional training or preparation • Staff turnover • Lack of special education training • Tips • Approach meetings collaboratively • Provide information and resources • Document everything • Seek District resources and supports • Use data

  45. Challenge 3: Discipline

  46. Challenge 3: Discipline Law • Charter schools must follow the IDEA and MDR process. • Charter schools are exempt from Illinois school discipline laws (e.g. 105 ILCS 5/10-22.6) • Charter schools do have to follow due process case law (i.e. offer opportunity for cross-examination, consider mitigating evidence per Robinson) • A charter school must follow its Code of Conduct.

  47. Challenge 3: Discipline Problems • Discipline staff have minimal familiarity with disabilities • Special education rights are not enforced • Many codes of conduct are exclusionary

  48. Challenge 3: Special Education Procedures Special education procedural rights: • At least 15 of 50 codes had errors in the description of the procedural rights for students with disabilities • Chicago Public Schools standard language Source: EFE analysis of 2013-14 charter school codes of conduct.

  49. Challenge 3: Harsh policies Source: CPS data release and data to EFE. See CPS: Expulsion Rate at Higher at Charter Schools, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 26, 2014, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-26/news/ct-chicago-schools-discipline-met-20140226_1_charter-schools-andrew-broy-district-run-schools

  50. Challenge 3: Charter Discipline Codes EFE analysis of Illinois charter school discipline codes • 15 codes outside Chicago (2013-14) • 35 codes in Chicago (2014-15, final & draft)