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Eva Moskowitz: bill lifting charter cap gives away "too much"

Harlem Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz took her fellow charter school supporters to task today for backing a bill that would force the schools to admit more special education students.

In an email sent to leaders of the city’s charter school movement, Moskowitz said that charter schools already serve the same percentage of special education students that district schools do. Her email came after the State Senate voted to more than double the state’s charter school cap on the condition that charter schools serve at least half the percentage of special education students that their nearby district schools do.

Though Department of Education officials and the charter school lobbying group, Education Reform Now, consider the vote a major victory, Moskowitz told them they gave away “too much.”

She wrote:

That’s why I was surprised when our side gave away so much (too much really) in negotiations on the Senate cap lift bill. Charter advocates conceded that charters don’t serve appropriate numbers of special education students and that we must be forced to comply through legislation. Why would they make such a concession when we already serve the same percentages as district schools?

Moskowitz also lit into the state teachers union’s report on charter schools with characteristic flair. Calling the report’s conclusion that charters serve fewer special education students “bogus,” she cites an analysis published on GothamSchools by researcher Kim Gittleson. Gittleson found that while charter schools do enroll fewer special education students, the gap between them and their district school peers is much smaller than the union claims.

Gittleson used data from the city’s Department of Education and notes that NYSUT used the State Education Department’s numbers. Moskowitz, however, blames the union for publishing inaccurate data.

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