Author: Stephanie Lai
California Charter School Association recently published a qualitative study regarding practices for special education in 10 selected schools. The report reviews the 10 charter schools and their innovative approaches behind their special education programs, implementation and policy arrangements that have improved outcomes for students with disabilities. Chosen by the directors in charge of the study, the schools exemplified similar attributes in which the CCSA found would improve the special education infrastructure. Particularly exemplifying inclusive programs, the 10 schools offer insight to policy arrangements that produce the best results for serving students.
According to the study, “Meeting the Needs of Every Student Through Inclusion,” schools have problems when they lack autonomy and individualized student support. Special Education Adviser Kate Dove explained, “The system, not intentionally but historically, has worked out to separate and segregate them into these programs.” The outdated models of special education programs many traditional schools operate with undermine the individual success of special education students due to the binding nature of the programs. As the students are “labeled,” the programs have systematically focused on compliance rather than on results and the individual need base differences of all students within the school.