I was so thrilled to read Friday’s News and Observer, which headlined the incredible families fighting to preserve Dynamic Community Charter School. Top and center of the newspaper! The fight is not won, but some state legislators are working to improve the funding situation. The amazing supporters of that school have already raised more than $200,000. Thanks to any readers who pitched in. It’s not too late to help out!
But why is Dynamic getting such grief from the state? They are the only special education charter school in North Carolina and the state is concerned that these 70 kids are not getting a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) because they are not included with “typical” peers. Passed as the Rehabilitation Act in 1973, federal guidelines for an appropriate education are listed below. The crucial issue is in the second bullet (in bold):
- education services designed to meet the individual education needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met;
- the education of each student with a disability with nondisabled students, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student with a disability;
- evaluation and placement procedures established to guard against misclassification or inappropriate placement of students, and a periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education or related services; and
- establishment of due process procedures that enable parents and guardians to:
- receive required notices;
- review their child’s records; and
- challenge identification, evaluation and placement decisions.
Dynamic’s parents and kids love their school. They wanted to get away from the mainstreaming which did not benefit their particular children. And there’s already a waiting list for next year. One reason I have so strongly supported this school is because I’ve worked with kids who have similar issues; many of them “made” it in an inclusive setting but some never could. One size does not fit all in ANY educational setting. Why can’t these kids continue to thrive at their school? Reread the first bullet above. Why can’t the Dynamic Dragons have a school designed to meet THEIR needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled kids?