Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard, Political Science

Document Type


Event Date



The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 explicitly states that any individual with a disability–physical, emotional, cognitive, or otherwise–is to be protected from discrimination regarding public services, including education. This paper will examine how American charter schools often do not provide such inclusive education. Data indicate that charter schools frequently manipulate requirements in order to avoid serving students with special needs. This paper will look at the problems that exist within charter schools–notably in the Midwest–and explore potential policy solutions to address the discrimination against students meant to be served by special education programs. Many of these schools work around the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For example, preliminary research suggests that charter schools in the state of Wisconsin do not staff properly qualified educators despite having students with various different abilities–cognitively, emotionally and physically, enrolled in their schools. Policies that provide better oversight in staffing could help ensure such failure of service does not occur. This paper will consider this and other gaps in service provision and potential policy solutions.