Florida Charter Schools Failing Disabled Students

Discussion in 'Parenting News' started by CrazyinVA, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I heard this on the way to work this morning, and had to share. It made me SO angry. I've been on the fence about my feelings about charter schools, but apparently for disabled students, they're not even an option, at least, not in Florida. I can't believe they're getting away with this.

    Florida Charter Schools Failing Disabled Students : NPR
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I see this from the other side too. My easy child is a teacher in a charter school. Their budget is set before the year starts and they budget for normal special needs (if there is such a thing). The charter schools are runindependantly and have no other schools in their district to fall back on for funding. If a child enrolls in the charter school that has severe disabilities that child will probably not receive the services he/she requires. In easy child's school they have one speech therapist that servoices several charter schools, so she is in her school maybe twice a week if lucky. I think the Occupational Therapist (OT) teacher is there even less.

    She is a kindergarten teacher and has a student who has autism. That was not determined before he entered school, she requested the evaluations after it was apparent he was not able to function in her classroom, and the evaluation just came back last week. He needs a full time aid and the IEP will be written that way. Where is the charter school going to get the funding for that aid? They already cut back to bare bones and there are manyother children in their school who require special needs help that they have to provide.

    I think the only way this will work is if the school has the ability to reopen the budget and get the funding required to educate every special needs student that comes to their school, but recognize this will be a very costly proposition and one that most communities do not want to finance. If each charter school is reuired to have on hand all the necessary equipment/personnel/services for every disability it will be a costly venture.

    I don't know what the answer is. Education is in a state of disaster here. easy child makes $10,000 less than teachers in a public school start at right out of college. She has no job security. The public school here have had to eliminate almost all crossing guards because of financial issues, and many schools have no extra curriculars anymore. Thousands of teachers have been laid off. There is no money.

  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Its a problem everywhere - with or without charter schools.
    One province I know about, took a different approach to the funding formulas - and while its more logical than some, it still has too much time lag in it. There, funding is per student, with extra $$ for each diagnosis. The funding follows the student, so if you are "special needs", then your special-needs funding follows you too. One of the unintended side-effects of this approach is that the school fights for students to have every imaginable diagnosis - whether it applies or not - to get more funding... there's only so much $$ available though, so this waters down what is available to any one student...
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fair enough on the funding, I get that. But I guess it's fact that some folks that hold out Charter Schools as the "great answer" for equal opportunities in education that bothers me ... this shows that it's simply not true. If you're receiving federal funding, I find it tough to swallow that you are allowed to discriminate against an entire class of students (no pun intended). But if the money isn't there, it isn't there. No easy answer anywhere.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe Florida does it differently but here it's first come first served. If you apply early enough you get in. I don't think a lot of parents with children that have serious disabilities would even apply because it is pretty well known that the charter schools don't have the type of services that the public schools do. As far as whether the education is better in charter schools it really depends on the management team for the charter and the administration they hire and then of course the teachers. Given the fact that the teachers make so much less than in a public school and the turnover is great, I'm not sure. Of course my easy child is is an awesome teacher and they do have more flexibility and less red tape. But there are many charter schools here that have been shut down by the state or had their funding frozen because of mismanagement.

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Florida is definitely not highly rated for it's school systems. Some years a go a Senator McKay (if I remember correctly...as I may not, lol) managed to get a "waiver" system set up which allows needs students to transfer to other schools including private that might serve them best. Sounded like a great idea. Sadly, the services aren't really available at any school in most areas. I guess I'll never live to see our society realize the importance of getting money up front for children in need...what a pity that the Justice system gets increasing amounts each year to house those who could have been helped. DDD