A new era of selective charters?

Spectrum Academy--the catchy if slightly off-putting name for Utah’s
K-8 charter school for students with autism (or “on the spectrum”--get
it?)--will expand its offerings to high school in fall 2010. What’s more
interesting is how the school’s very existence reminds us of two
contentious issues. By removing these youngsters from mainstream
classrooms, indeed from regular schools, Spectrum obviously flies in the
face of IDEA’s emphasis on integration. And it raises a question about
charter-school admissions. In Utah,
like most places, charters are supposed to accept all comers--and use
lotteries when oversubscribed. Schools that restrict themselves to
predetermined pupil populations risk losing
(and often do lose) some funding--federal start-up dollars in
particular. Gadfly thinks well of specialized charter schools with
admissions criteria but public policy hasn’t really bought into that
idea. Is Spectrum another trailblazer?

"New Help for Autism" by Elizabeth Stuart, Desert News (UT)December 28, 2009

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