As any parent would know, sending your child to school that fits their individual needs is extremely important. Finding a good fit for your child who may have disabilities presents even more of a challenge. As a parent in California you should know what all of your education options are for your kids. In this blogpost we will discuss everything you need to know about California charter schools and how they might be an excellent fit for your child with disabilities!
Never heard of charter schools before? Let’s discuss why they stand out from public and private schooling options. Charter schools are free independent public schools with rigorous curriculum programs and unique educational approaches. Charter schools are subject to higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools due to their operational freedom and flexibility. It comes down to higher accountability in exchange for educational freedom. Another benefit to charter schools is that they are tuition free! You are probably wondering if charter schools are tuition free but different from public schools how are they funded? In the state of California charter schools use ADA dollars. ADA stands for Average Daily Attendance. This fund takes away the dollars that would have been used if your child were to be enrolled in your local public school district. It is illegal in California for charter schools to charge you any tuition fees.
You should feel empowered to enroll your child in a charter school in California. Whether you live in Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego county you will be able to find a local fit for your family. You may be worried that a charter school may not take in kids with learning disabilities. You may be skeptical about what kind of support is available. You should know that charter schools in our state embrace every student’s unique capabilities along with their given challenges. California charter schools provide inclusive classrooms with unique teaching models making them more flexible than traditional public school systems. Inclusivity equals success in the classroom. Studies conducted in 2014 show data that charter schools in California have seen greater improvements in students with learning disabilities or other special needs. This is because charter schools understand that traditional education models do not work for all students. Remember, charter schools are open to all students! This could be a perfect fit for your child if they have struggled in the traditional public school system!
Furthermore, you should be aware that within the past few years charter schools have increased funding into more special education programs. Cause and effect shows the rise of students with disabilities attending charter schools rather than public or private schools. Every charter school system in California has their own mission statement regarding special education. For example, the Springs Charter Schools has an entire Special Education Department. This dedicated department was created to identify and provide services to students who meet federal and state criteria as a student with a disability. Their teachers and staff are committed to providing a caring community that empowers students to become active members of the school and society, based on their individual strengths and abilities. Charter schools also believe in heavy parental involvement. They believe that working together will provide the best learning environment for every individual child! To the Spring school system, they believe that parent involvement is essential in meeting the diverse academic, emotional, and social needs of each student. The Special Education Department is dedicated to oversee special education staff and properly integrate general and special education services. They seek to work with you in hopes that together you and the school will provide the best outcome for success that is possible. Again, thousands of students with disabilities are enrolled in charter schools. According to the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools more than 250,000 children receive special education in the charter school systems.
You should also be aware that your child is protected against discrimination while applying to charter schools. A charter school cannot deny your child access to education based on any of their disabilities. Your child is protected under Section 504. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against students with a disability. Itt protects students from discrimination under federal law. This assures access to educational services and the learning process that is equal to that given to students who do not have disabilities. All students who have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such an impairment are protected. A school cannot deny your child’s application of rntoll due to a 504 plan submitted with the application.
While looking into local charter schools near you, you should also be aware of other online resources to help you navigate this process. The Center for Learner Equity can be a great resource to you as a parent. They are committed to ensure the best educational experience for children with disabilities. They work with public and charter schools to fulfill their mission. The possibilities for your child’s long term success are endless with flexible education at one of California’s charter schools!