Special Education from the (Damp) Ground Up: Children with Disabilities in a Charter School-Dependent Educational System
Mark C. Weber
DePaul University College of Law
October 12, 2009
Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law, Vol. 11, p. 217, 2010
Hurricane Katrina created the need and the opportunity to reconstitute the New Orleans public school system. Educational reformers took advantage of the destruction of existing institutions to build a new system based on educational choice and dependent on charter schools to provide the choices. The disaster also created the need and opportunity to rebuild the system of special education in the city, but education for children with disabilities appears to have been an afterthought. Reports have surfaced of children being steered away from charter schools or inadequately served there. This paper asks what principles should guide reformers in establishing education for children with disabilities in a reconstructed school system committed to choice and charters. The principles include the following: (1) Guaranteeing that the general education system takes responsibility for all children; (2) Adequately supporting children with disabilities in general education; (3) Improving outcomes; (4) Providing equal opportunity for choice; (5) Assigning costs fairly; and (6) Protecting parents' and children's rights. This paper will discuss each principle in turn, considering its implications for policy and its legal ramifications.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Education, Special Education, Disability, Civil Rights
JEL Classification: I20, I28, J78
Date posted: October 12, 2009 ; Last revised: August 4, 2010
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