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The UFT is calling on the state Legislature to enact laws requiring taxpayer-funded charter schools and networks to accept and keep high-needs students in numbers comparable to those in public schools.
Public schools on average enroll more than twice as many English language learners as charter schools, and more than one-third as many students with disabilities, according to a new analysis by the union.
“For years the charter industry in New York City has pledged to try to educate all kinds of students, whatever their needs,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “It has since become clear that these were empty promises. The parents and children of New York City have waited long enough. We need laws with teeth that will compel charters to face the same difficult task as the public schools to which they constantly compare themselves.”
Under the new law the UFT is proposing, charter schools would be fined for failing to comply and repeat offenders could lose their charters.
The call for the new law was tied to the UFT’s latest report on charter school enrollment, “Still Unequal After All These Years.” The report, which drew on official New York City enrollment data for its analysis, reveals that little has changed since the UFT issued a similar report in 2010: Charter schools continue to fail to enroll English language learners, special education and other high-needs students in numbers that reflect their percentage of the New York City student population.
The disparity was especially striking in co-located schools, where public and charter schools share a building. Because those schools draw on the same neighborhood population, the student demographics at both schools would be expected to closely resemble one another.
Yet even under the same roof, the public school had twice as many English language learners as the charter school, one-third more special education students and 40 percent more homeless students. The most severely disabled students in self-contained classrooms represent on average less than 1 percent of charter students, compared with 6 percent in public schools, the report found.
This article first appeared on UFT.org on Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.
What is your favorite winter-themed children's story?
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen
Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen
The Mitten, by Jan Brett
Total votes: 97