Enrollment of students with disabilities in charter schools: Contemporary national and state level findings

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Abstract

There is no national study examining the rate of enrollment of students with disabilities in charter schools. We examined whether students with disabilities were significantly less likely to enroll in charter schools as compared to non-charter public schools accounting for state level variation using data for the entire national population. We utilized data from the Civil Rights Data Collection under the U.S. Department of Education for the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 academic years. These nationwide and contemporary data provided school-level numbers of students with disabilities receiving special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and charter school status. We performed hierarchical linear modeling to examine for differences in the percentages of students with disabilities under IDEA between charter and non-charter schools, which revealed significantly less students with disabilities enrolled in charter schools at the national and state level. Additionally, we identified and ranked states according to the degree of discrepancy in the percentages of students with disabilities under IDEA between charter and non-charter schools.

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How to Cite
Barnard-Brak, L., Schmidt, M., & Almekdash, M. H. (2018). Enrollment of students with disabilities in charter schools: Contemporary national and state level findings. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 43. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3276
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Author Biographies

Lucy Barnard-Brak, Texas Tech University

Lucy Barnard-Brak is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Leadership in the College of Education at Texas Tech University. She earned her Ph.D. from the same institution after she became an Assistant Professor at Baylor University before returning to Texas Tech University. Her research pivots on examining the educational experiences and outcomes of students with disabilities. She has published over 100 articles.

Marcelo Schmidt, Texas Tech University

Marcelo Schmidt is the Director of Assessment & Accredication for the College of Education at Texas Tech University. Dr. Schmidt has a PhD in Educational Psychology from Texas Tech University and a Master’s in Education from the University of Texas-Pan American. His areas of interest are outcomes assessment, improvement science in educational settings, and children with disabilities.  

M. Hassan Almekdash, Texas Tech University

M. Hasan Almekdash is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at Texas Tech University.