Every few years, the U.S. Department of Education conducts a competition that provides millions of dollars of funding for “national activities grants” through the federal Public Charter Schools Program. The Department awards these funds to projects that have the potential to benefit the whole charter sector. In December, the Department announced a new round of funding and stated its intended priorities for that funding. There were five priority areas listed, and one of them was for programs that help charter schools effectively serve students with disabilities.
The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools strongly supports the Department’s determination that special education is an area where federal funding could have the greatest impact. Charter schools and authorizers across the country struggle to gain access to best practices and resources that enable them to effectively serve students with disabilities. Public Charter School Program funding will be a tremendous benefit in that effort and establishing this priority sends a strong message in support of equity for all public school students.
On January 2nd, NCSECS submitted formal comments in response to the Department’s proposed priorities. We indicated our strong support for its special education priority, as did numerous other organizations within the charter school and special education sectors. We encourage all who share this view to communicate it to the Department and to stay tuned for future developments.