School Choice Should Provide a Standard of Equity for Students with Disabilities
WASHINGTON, DC – In response to the Trump Administration’s promotion of the Education Freedom Scholarships program, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (the Center) made the following statement:
“The academic success of all children should absolutely be our collective priority; however, we know that students with disabilities consistently experience significant outcome gaps that keep them from achieving on par with their peers. As advocates for high-quality public charter schools, we urge the Administration to leverage its authority to ensure that students’ civil rights are protected in every education setting so that all schools, including charter schools, create and sustain inclusive, positive environments in order to provide every student with a quality education. Effective charter schools can provide important and equitable opportunities to parents of students with disabilities seeking educational options and, in particular, mission-driven schools that align with their students’ interests. However, unregulated choice runs the significant risk of actually limiting parents’ choices and segregating students with disabilities, thereby undermining their right to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. The Administration and Congress must only support regulated school choice so that parents can make decisions that will not limit or eliminate their child’s civil rights.”
The Center and the Equity Coalition, a group comprised of experts from the charter and special education advocacy sectors, have developed the “Principles of Equitable Schools” to establish a standard of equity intended to help parents, policymakers, and other stakeholders weigh their options when choosing a school. Through these essential principles, the Center and the Equity Coalition aim to establish core principles that should be upheld by any school enrolling students using public dollars.