Building Bridges Connecting a Diverse Coalition of Stakeholders:
The NCSECS Equity Coalition
One of NCSECS’ primary objectives is to develop a dynamic coalition of special education and charter school advocates that support equal access and high quality, effective and appropriate supports for students with learning differences in charter schools and who are committed to working together to develop practical solutions to challenges that hinder access and quality. The Equity Coalition includes representatives from a diverse range of organizations with an interest in students with diverse learning needs, special education programs, charter schools and education reform.
Multiple organizations have devoted resources to studying, providing technical assistance, and proposing policy solutions to issues related to special education in charter schools. However, focused efforts by a diverse group of organizations have the potential to have a far more significant and sustainable impact. Equity Coalition members meet in person and virtually to explore common ground, articulate priority goals related to students with disabilities, examine policy challenges and continue to build bridges to address specific issues such as funding, legal status, providing a full continuum of special education services, special education infrastructures, and authorizer standards.
In addition, when NCSECS takes a stance on issues, publishes papers or issues letters of support or criticism of federal or state policies, we invite Equity Coalition members to discuss, debate and consider publicly signing on to the initiative(s) and lending the support of some or all of its constituent groups. For instance, members of the Equity Coalition have published joint statements on discipline and to the Trump Administration and 115th Congress regarding critical issues impacting students with disabilities in charter schools.
As a result of ongoing work of the Equity Coalition, we aim to achieve the following objectives:
- Build robust relationships that foster communication between charter school and special education advocacy groups and facilitate strategic problem solving among diverse constituents;
- Increase knowledge of the unique challenges charter schools face when serving students with disabilities in order to identify and implement relevant policy solutions at the federal, state, and local level;
- Establish a coalition of experts to inform NCSECS’ work; and
- Influence practice in a manner that leads to students with disabilities having equal access to charter schools prepared to provide exemplary special education and related services.
NCSECS gratefully acknowledges the participation of members of the following organizations in the work of the Equity Coalition:
The Advocacy Institute
Advocates for Justice and Education
Black Alliance for Educational Options
Center for Reinventing Public Education
Children's Law Center, Washington, DC
Civil Rights Solutions
Council for Exceptional Children
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
DC Public Charter School Board
Educational Support Systems
Green Dot Public Schools
Kent, Michigan Intermediate School District
Kutz & Bethke, LLC
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
National Association of Charter School Authorizers
National Center for Learning Disabilities
Newark Charter School Fund
National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools
NYC Special Education Collaborative