A Charter School Board Member Says The Quiet Part Out Loud
With NVMI fighting to survive, a suggestion was made to discard struggling students. Its Superintendent throws other charters under the bus.
– Julie Ward, NVMI Board of Trustees
As recipients of public funding, charter schools are supposed to accept all students who seek to enroll. In the increasingly rare event that demand exceeds capacity, a random lottery is supposed to give all applicants an equal chance of attending. Any preference based on ability or performance is supposed to be expressly forbidden. Screening prospective students based on a need for services is also against the law.
While it is often difficult to prove that charter schools are overtly breaking these rules, the data does show that these publicly funded private schools serve children with special education needs at rates lower than public schools. This discrepancy is even more pronounced for those with moderate to severe disabilities. During a candidate debate in 2015, Scott Schmerelson shared his experience as an LAUSD principal who would welcome students into his school who had been “counseled out” of charters, usually right before testing time.
Lax oversight by the LAUSD Charter School Division allows charter schools to manipulate their enrollment in other ways. For years, the LAUSD ignored Granada Hills Charter School’s violation of the rule prohibiting schools from requiring that IEPs or 504 plans be submitted prior to enrollment. Despite the fact that charter schools are supposed to enroll every interested student, the Citizens of the World charter school chain is one of many that invite parents to “apply” to its schools. The regulators at the LAUSD insist that despite this wording, there is no “information showing that CWC [East Valley] is not admitting all pupils who wish to attend, denying admission for any student, or has any discriminatory admissions policy.” The data comparing the charter to a public school that is a half mile away from it shows…