* From the synopsis of House Bill 4527…
Requires a charter school to comply with all federal and State laws and rules applicable to public schools that pertain to special education and the instruction of English language learners.
Charters have historically been exempt from quite a few state laws and regulations in the School Code, including special ed mandates and English as a Second Language requirements.
* From two opponents…
“What you’re doing with this bill is you’re taking away the flexibility and innovation that has characterized charters and made them a success,” [Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon] said. “If you want to make charter schools like regular public schools, this bill’s for you.” […]
“It seems like it’s going to make it more difficult for the charter schools, and end up in the long run, providing less choice,” [Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove] said. “Am I incorrect?”
* From the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kimberly Lightford…
“It actually opens the door for more children,” Lightford said. “These are critical areas. It’s not some general, vague program. We’re talking about kids who have special needs and they should be addressed and able to attend that local charter school as well.”
Lightford said charter schools, like every other school, are subject to federal law and that her bill helps “ensure that federal and state anti-discrimination laws are enforced consistenty in every public school in Illinois.”
* The Question: Should charter schools be required to follow state mandates to offer special education and English as a second language programs? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.