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Report Provides Deeply Flawed Picture of Special Education Funding for Charter Schools

BOULDER, CO (September 2, 2021) – A recent brief from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas erroneously asserts that charter schools are shortchanged of funding for students with disabilities.

Bruce Baker of Rutgers University reviewed Charter School Funding: Support for Students with Disabilities, and found it to ignore substantial differences in the classifications, needs, and costs of children with disabilities in district-operated versus charter schools. Most obviously, the available data suggests that the students with disabilities that charter schools enroll have, on average, less severe needs.

In addition, Professor Baker points to the report’s exclusive citing of deeply flawed, self-published evidence of a purported charter school funding gap more generally, while it ignored more rigorous studies yielding contradictory findings.

As such, he concludes, the report adds no value to legitimate debate over the comparability or adequacy of general or special education funding of charter schools.

Find the review, by Bruce D. Baker, at:
https://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/funding-disabilities

Find Charter School Funding: Support for Students with Disabilities, written by Cassidy Syftestad, Patrick J. Wolf, Wendy Tucker, and Lauren Morando Rhim and published by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, at: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/wordpressua.uark.edu/dist/9/544/files/2018/10/charter-school-funding-support-for-students-with-disabilities.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu