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Charter schools have increased benefits for special-ed students: study

May 17, 2016

New York’s City’s special-education students are more likely to be proficient in math and English if they attend a charter school, ­according to new data.

For Grades 3 to 8, 21 percent of special-ed kids from charter schools attained math proficiency on last year’s state tests, according to Families for Excellent Schools, a charter-advocacy group.

That compares to 11 percent math proficiency for special-ed students at district schools at the same grade levels, according to the study.

For English, 10 percent of special-ed students from charter schools scored at a proficient level compared to 7 percent at district schools, the study found.

Families for Excellent Schools said it obtained the statistics via a Freedom of Information Law request.

At district schools with at least 90 percent minority enrollment, the numbers were bleaker.

At those schools, 3 percent of special-ed students were proficient in English and 6 percent in math.

“Special-needs students experience far worse outcomes in the city’s most black and Hispanic districts,” the report stated. “These overwhelmingly black and Hispanic districts where special-needs students are struggling are also the most charter-heavy districts.”

The group also noted that special-ed students in primarily minority areas scored higher at charters than at district schools in nine out of 10 disability categories.

For kids with learning disabilities at minority-heavy charter schools, 6 percent were proficient in English and 12 percent in math. At district schools, 2 percent were English-proficient and 3 percent math-proficient.

“By exposing the failure of district schools to serve black and Hispanic students with learning disabilities, this data shows how critical high-quality charter-school options have become,” said Families for Excellent Schools CEO Jeremiah Kittredge. “New York City’s highest-need students rely on charter schools to give them the excellent education they deserve.”

City Department of Education spokeswoman Toya Holness told The Post, “This report is misleading and is an inaccurate comparison of the data.”

She said district schools had far more English-as-a-Second-Language students than charter schools along with higher poverty rates.

That weighed down district proficiency numbers, she said.

(Source: nypost.com)


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