Ensuring equity for children who have special needs

To paraphrase a common saying, sometimes a statistic is worth a thousand words. As reporting for this issue of Catalyst In Depth unfolded, a telling statistic emerged (shown in the accompanying graphic). Its point: Racial disparity in CPS reaches down even into small-scale programs that fly under the radar. In this case, the disparity is in the district’s program for placing children with more severe disabilities in private, therapeutic day schools, designed to provide optimal support for learning.

No place in line

CPS saves money by keeping down the number of more severely disabled students placed in private therapeutic schools, which are designed to provide optimal support. But the decline in placements raises two questions: Are these students getting the services they need? And is CPS adequately monitoring the private schools on its preferred list?

Hope aims high

The academy was created to be a model for inclusive education, but it must overcome problems with staff turnover and recruitment of general education students.

The right choice?

Charter schools enroll 25 percent fewer special education students than traditional schools. Charter school officials point out that they are wrestling with how best to work with students with disabilities, and want the district to provide more money to pay for the resources needed.