Massachusetts Charter Public Schools: Students with Special Educational Needs Demographic and Achievement Trends
Detractors have long claimed that charter public schools that achieve strong academic results are able to do so in part because they do not enroll students with special needs at the same rate as district schools. While this claim used to be accurate, in response to recent public policy changes, charter schools have begun to reach demographic parity with their district counterparts.
Since 2010, Massachusetts’s charter schools have dramatically diversified the population of students they recruit, enroll, and retain. This is a testament to the power of sound education policy and charters’ willingness to live up to the promise to serve all students who desire a charter public school education. Furthermore, charter schools have maintained high standards of academic excellence for all the students they enroll, including those with special educational needs. A growing body of rigorous research points to the success of these schools.