Posts tagged "NYC Charter Center"
June 1, 2012
The charter sector is ramping up its efforts to serve high-needs students with a state legislative proposal that would help charter schools pool their resources.
One obstacle to serving students with disabilities and English language learners, charter operators have said, is that the schools are islands: Every school operates independently, so it is costly for any charter school to serve small populations of students with diverse needs.
Critics have accused charter operators with using this explanation as an excuse for not serving more students with disabilities and ELLs. But in fact some charter school lobbyists have pushed for years to be able to work together to pool resources.
In 2010, when legislators added special education enrollment targets to the state’s charter school law, revised in order to qualify the state for the federal Race to the Top competition, charter advocates asked for a legal change. But it was one of several proposals that didn’t cross the finish line in the frenzy to pass the law, according to officials from the New York State Charter Association, which is currying support for the bill.
Now, legislators are trying again. The Charter School Students With Special Needs Act would allow charter schools across the state to create consortia to serve students with disabilities. State Sen. John Flanagan, chair of the education committee, proposed the bill last month and moved it through his committee yesterday. In the Assembly, Karim Camara, a city representative, has introduced an identical bill. (more…)
February 13, 2012
For the third straight year, the city’s charter sector has made it easier to apply to charter schools.
This year, 110 of the city’s 136 charter schools will be allowing students to use a digital version of the common application to apply to multiple schools by their April deadlines. Charter schools are not allowed to close applications before April 1.
Until two years ago, families applying to charters schools had to fill out individual applications for each school or network of schools they wanted to attend. In 2010, the city debuted a common application system on paper by which students could apply to multiple schools using a single application. Last year, city’s main charter advocacy organization, the Charter Center, devised the Common Online Charter Application to give students access to the common application online for 20 pilot schools.
The push to streamline the charter school application process counters criticism that some schools’ applications are time-consuming, complicated, and too onerous for some families. The common application may also help schools draw more applicants and maintain longer waiting lists — one figure the charter sector points to as evidence the public wants more charter schools. (more…)
November 7, 2011
As the director of special education at the DREAM Charter School, Jacqueline Frey knows firsthand the difficulties charter schools face when serving students with disabilities.
One issue, she said, is convincing the city that her school’s plan to serve each disabled student is sound.
And when she wants to bring her teachers up to date on the best ways to serve students with disabilities, she has to figure out how to compensate for the training that pricey consultants might be able to offer.
“If I’m a mom and pop charter school, I can’t afford to do that for myself,” Frey said. “It helps to find other schools in the same situation.”
Connecting charter schools with similar special education needs is the chief goal of the New York City Charter School Center’s Special Education Collaborative, which builds off of local efforts to boost special education at charter schools that have been going in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn since 2007. The $1,500-per-school entry fee pays for monthly training sessions, access to counselors and consultants, and an annual conference.
The citywide collaborative, which about 90 of the city’s 136 charter schools have already joined, comes at an opportune time. Both of the state’s charter school authorizers, the State University of New York and the Board of Regents, are pushing new charter schools to build capacity for more higher-needs students, including more special education students, this year, into their school designs. And at the collaborative’s first conference last month, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE would be pressing charter schools to “up the ante” in how they serve special education students.
The pushes are in part a response to criticism that charter schools do not enroll a fair share of special needs students. In recent years, the proportion of students with disabilities at charter schools has actually risen to nearly the city average. The challenge now, advocates say, is to serve disabled students well. (more…)