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Glen was being continually suspended from school for minor offenses that were related to his disability.

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Policy & Initiatives

Policy Agenda: Charter Schools

Policy Agenda: Charter Schools

Approximately 70,000 students in NYC attend charter schools. Despite state law requiring charter schools to serve students with disabilities and English Language Learners in comparable numbers to other schools in their community school districts, recent studies have shown that charter schools are failing to serve comparable numbers of these students. Furthermore, charter schools have their own discipline policies, which do not always meet the requirements of state and federal law and are often more punitive than the DOE Discipline Code.

We advocate for students, including students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students with behavioral challenges, to receive the programs and supports they need to succeed at charter schools when their parents choose this option.

►  Review and Revise Discipline Policies:

The three charter school authorizers, including the DOE, should review and revise their charter schools’ discipline policies so that they comport with federal and state law, promote research-based positive approaches to address behavior, and require full-time alternative instruction. Authorizers should also ensure that the discipline policies are posted online, require charter schools to report annually on suspension/expulsion data, and hold schools accountable that fail to follow state and federal laws when suspending or expelling students.

►  Amend State Law on Discipline:

Charter schools have argued that the State’s school discipline law does not apply to them. State law should be amended to make clear that all charter schools must abide by state discipline law.

►  Create a Variety of Programs for Students with Disabilities and ELLs:

With the support of charter school authorizers, charter schools must invest in professional development, technical assistance, and evidence-based practices so they can offer a range of programs, supports, and services to serve a diverse array of learners.

►  Hold Charter Schools Accountable for Serving Students with Disabilities and ELLs:

Charter school authorizers must hold charter schools accountable for recruiting, retaining, and serving students with disabilities and ELLs at comparable rates to community schools.

Learn more about AFC's work with students attending charter schools.