New Certification Regulations in NY May Solve One Problem but Create Another

NCSECS Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim released the following statement in response to the State University of New York's (SUNY) vote to approve regulations that will allow some charter schools to certify their own teachers:

"While we are glad that the developments in New York have shed light on the shortage of teachers, and especially special education teachers, in this country, we are concerned that opening the door for charter schools to certify their own educators may solve one problem but create another. To be successful, public schools need more exemplary educators with sufficient training and experience. Creating pathways that lack adequate training (e.g., only 40 hours of practice time) runs the risk of hurting rather than helping schools committed to improving the outcomes for at-risk students, particularly students with disabilities. Instead of attempting to solve problems on a one-off basis, we urge education leaders to take a step back and develop policies that will ensure all students — including students with disabilities -- have trained teachers who are prepared to lead their classrooms as soon as they enter the profession."


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NACSA Authorizer Voices Series: Serving Students with Unique Needs

Featuring NCSECS Executive Director, Lauren Morando Rhim, the fifth video short in NACSA's Authorizer Voices series centers on how authorizers ensure access to charter schools for students with unique needs. Authorizers first give parents quality options. They leverage school autonomy. They expect schools to reflect their neighborhoods and cities. And they partner with schools to fix problems.

See the video here.

NCSECS' Letter to the Department of Education Regarding Evaluation of Existing Regulations and Guidance

Today, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools submitted formal comments to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) related to its Regulatory Reform Task Force initiative to evaluate existing education regulations and guidance.

Highlights of NCSECS recommendations related to charter schools and special education students include:

  • Maintain and enforce all Federal education and civil rights laws, related regulations, and guidance;
  • Continue to prohibit charter schools from discriminating against students with disabilities;
  • Fully maintain the following Non-Regulatory Guidance and Dear Colleague Letters: 

Read NCSECS' full comments to ED here.

Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Essential to Protecting Students’ Civil Rights

Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Essential to Protecting Students’ Civil Rights

34 Senators sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos this week outlining their disappointment and alarm regarding steps her administration has taken to diminish enforcement of civil rights for students around the country. Changes include budget reductions and narrowing the way the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will approach civil rights enforcement. The push to reduce the role of OCR is fueled by concerns that OCR investigations are unnecessarily time consuming and onerous and broader philosophical discussions regarding the role of state and local officials versus the federal government. Advocates for narrowing the work of OCR have speculated that increased promulgation of OCR guidance under the Obama administration may have catalyzed a high level of complaints and infringed on local control. Of particular interest is the extent to which OCR is empowered to investigate whether or not a complaint is an indication of a “broader pattern” or conversely, limited to only examining the discrete set of circumstances.

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New from NCSECS: State Finance Data and LEA Status Issue Brief

We are excited to announce the release of two new resources:

  1. The NCSECS Charter School Special Education Finance Project provides state-specific information regarding funding streams and focused reports comparing the states. Stay tuned for a fall webinar exploring this data project in depth. 
  2. The first in a series of four issue briefs from our Equity Coalition -The Impact of LEA Status gives a snapshot of the vital role the legal status of a charter school plays in its provision of special education services. This series of four issue briefs offers short descriptions of some of the common topics that shape our work. Other briefs to be released over the coming months include discussions of the role of authorizers, special ed infrastructures, and how charter schools can provide a full continuum of services to meet the needs of all students.