Students with disabilities and charter school enrollment

The federal government’s investigative arm has found that charter schools in Connecticut and 27 other states enroll fewer students with disabilities than public schools. In Connecticut, the difference is 3 percent.

In a letter released with the report, U.S. Department of Education officials said they will be issuing guidance to charter schools on their obligation to serve such students.

Earlier this year, the Connecticut Mirror reported each charter school in the state’s student demographics, which showed that special education and English language learning students were enrolled at much lower rates than the public school district where they were located.

The new education reform law, which was signed by the governor last month, does partially address this discrepancy in enrollment. The law requires that when the State Department of Education is considering which charter schools are allowed to open, they give preference to charter applications that have “strategies or a record of success” in teaching special education, English language learners, those from low-income families or those with low-academic performance. There are no enrollment requirements that the student demographics mirror the traditional public schools.