Public charter schools, a small but fast-growing segment of K-12 education, enroll fewer children with disabilities than traditional public schools, according to a new federal study.
The report, released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, examined how many disabled students are served by charter schools as compared with traditional public schools.
About 8 percent of the students at charter schools are disabled and require special services, compared with 11 percent of students in traditional public schools, the GAO found. Differences in enrollment were seen across a range of disabilities, from autism to speech impairment.
Public schools that accept federal money, including charters, are required by law to provide a “free appropriate” education to all disabled children. They cannot exclude disabled students or otherwise discriminate against them.
When it comes to children with intellectual disabilities, traditional public schools had almost twice as many as charter schools, according to the study.