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ERIC Number: ED525521
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 191
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-9881-2
Choice, Charter Schools, and Students with Disabilities: Special Education Enrollment in Post-Katrina New Orleans Charter Schools
Marcell, Elizabeth A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
Charter schools have been a mechanism of school reform for three decades (Finn, Manno, & Vanourek, 2000; Greene et al, 2010) and have received increased attention during the current Obama administration (Loveless, 2010). Studies on the effectiveness of charter schools demonstrate mixed results and that school quality varies dramatically, but it is clear charter schools serve a higher than average population of low-income minority students (Finn, Vanno, & Manourek, 2000; Loveless, 2010). It is also clear charter schools do not serve a proportionate population of students with disabilities (Fierros & Blomberg, 2005; Fiore & Harwell, 2000). This dissertation builds on existing research about why charter schools might exclude students with disabilities, but adds the important perspectives of charter school administrators and parents of students with disabilities and a comparison of charter school practices, in the context of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. New Orleans is the first city to send the majority of its public school students to charter schools (The State of Public Education in New Orleans, 2010), allowing for a comparison of practices at charter schools enrolling relatively higher and lower percentages of students with disabilities to explore what factors might contribute to these enrollment patterns. I used student enrollment data (n = 36,801) to test the significance of observed enrollment patterns of students with disabilities between charter and non-charter schools and the two public school systems. I interviewed charter school administrators at the 20 percent of charter schools enrolling the highest and lowest percentages of students with disabilities, parents of students with disabilities attending higher-enrolling charter schools (n = 4), and special education advocates (n = 2) to gather perspectives on the school choice, enrollment, and admission process for students with disabilities. Finally, I examined recruitment materials for messages that might encourage students with disabilities to enroll. Findings indicate the rate of enrollment for students with disabilities differs significantly between charter and non-charter schools and between the two school districts serving public school students. Factors related to the charter school enrollment of students with disabilities include the mission-driven nature of the school and the extent of recruitment practices. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana