NCTI Issue Brief
Charter schools have become a hot topic across the country, with the number of charters exploding in recent years. In the two decades since they were first established, charter schools have become a key part of the public education landscape. By 2008, more than 1 million students were enrolled in public charter schools—representing about 3 percent of the total population of students in U.S. public schools. Though many American students are now enrolled in public charter schools, there has been growing concern about how students with disabilities are served in the charter school environment. As more and more parents consider charter schools as an alternative to noncharter public schools for their children with special needs, special education in charters deserves a critical look.
In this info brief, we examine the challenges and successes of special education in charter schools, including issues related to enrollment, legal identity, infrastructure, school choice, and virtual charters.