by David Safier
Raul Grijalva wants data on ELL students who are enrolled in charter schools. He and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif), the ranking member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, sent a letter to Ed Sec Arne Duncan asking for more information. saying that some charters aren't reporting the necessary student data to let the feds know whether they're meeting the needs of ELL students.
Public charter schools are required to report how many ELL students and students with disabilities attend their school to ensure that they aren’t turning children away or denying them services. Some Democrats have complained that some charter schools aren’t providing adequate educational services to students with special needs.
It's an important question. Most reports indicate that charters serve fewer ELL students than district schools. The same goes for special education students. You can give all kinds of reasons, like the difficulty of setting up specialized programs in small charter schools. But if the conservative "education reform" movement wants to make the inaccurate assertion that charters provide better education than school districts, they need to admit that charters have a selective enrollment which often skips over students who need more services — which means more money — than the average student.