Good article; however, a major factor in the growing classification of "special ed" students is the federal monies that make such classification enormously attractive--to schools and parents. From my experience as a univeristy professor, most Americans are not aware that parents with students in special education receive monthly checks for their children's "disability." There seems to be little urgency to promote one's child to regular classroom status if one has become dependent on these SSI funds. [And the same goes for school boards and administrator who are eager for more "funding."] Parents who are receiving such subsidies probably know that their children's chances of being classified as special education students are not as likely in the charter schools and therefore do not attempt to enroll them.
"Public Charter School."
That's in the ads running on NYC television stations. If you fall for it, there's shares in the Brooklyn Bridge for you....
Same time, the scam with respect to Special Needs students is that they are sent to privatized schools, more every year. These privatized schools are much more expensive than the public Special Needs schools.
New Jersey was costing $43,000 a year per Special Needs student.
The privatized Christie-pushed privatized Special Needs schools are billing school districts over $90,000 a year per student. Yeah, more than twice as expensive.
Beating down on the teacher's unions has to be the prime goal with these "Public Charter" efforts. The Special Needs schools are money grubbing scams but the regular schools don't only make profit where they skimp on teacher salaries. The ads can lie about one "Public Charter" operation, but overall we know they accomplish very little.
Hate unions? Think that Ayn Rand's brand of narcissistic atheism is your ticket? Go for it. But don't pretend that teachers unions protect bad teachers -- that's a big lie. And thowing Special Needs kids into for-profit environments is really the worst of it all.
Charter schools are for kids who have the aptitude and desire to learn. The fact that they have signed up for a chance at a winning ticket in the lottery (itself a travesty) is evidence enough of that profile.
Mulgrew is old school, more concerned about "mainstreaming" kids who cannot or will not learn than in producing batches of kids who have actually learned something. He is an atavism, a vestigial relic from the camp whose aim is to "dumb down" education to the lowest common denominator so that the timeservers in his union aren't shown up as numbskulls.
The pity of it all is that Mulgrew still has a bullhorn and lots and lots of union money. But may his hopes be blasted and his dreams shattered. He belongs to the '60s, and he should return there.