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TA Customizer ProjectTAC


... Schools Program Office of the US Department of Education ... A charter school is either its own LEA or part of another LEA for special education purposes. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: TA Customizer ProjectTAC

TA Customizer ProjectTAC
  • Cheryl M. Lange
  • lange003_at_umn.edu

  • What is the Technical Assistance Customizer
  • Why should states consider the TAC approach?
  • Why state-specific TA?
  • How can states develop their own primer?
  • What resources can assist you?

What is the TAC Project?
  • A TA project funded by the Charter Schools
    Program Office of the US Department of Education
  • The outcome of several years of research
    documenting the need for special education TA in
    states with charter school laws
  • A national primer for operators, state officials,
    and authorizers
  • Assistance to ten states for writing
    state-specific primers

Why should states consider the TAC approach?
  • Research has documented that charter schools
    struggle to provide special education and related
  • Stakeholders from various arenas play a critical
    role in developing and/or implementing charter
    school policies and practices and should be
    involved in TA within their state

Why should states consider the TAC approach?
  • States need customized technical assistance
    materials or training documents that can be used
    to build charter schools capacity to provide
    special education and related services
  • TA is necessary to improve the services available
    for students attending charter schools

Why state-specific TA?
  • Nearly a decade of research has confirmed
    significant challenges associated with providing
    special education and related services in charter
  • Challenges occur at both the policy level and at
    the implementation level - charter operators,
    authorizers, and SEA staff struggle to navigate
    policy issues while negotiating day to day
    implementation issues.

Why state-specific TA?Policy Issues to Address
  • Research has documented fundamental policy issues
    associated with implementing special education in
    the charter school sector
  • Legal Identity and Linkage
  • Autonomy and Regulation illustrated in the
    tension between parental choice and team

Why state-specific TA?Legal Status and Linkage
Issues to Address
  • A charter school is either its own LEA or part of
    another LEA for special education purposes.
  • LEA definition and status shape the design and
    implementation of special education.
  • Linkage between a charter school and a
    traditional LEA (the implementation of legal
    status) is a critical issue.

Why state-specific TA?Policy Tensions to Address
  • A basic policy tension exists between the
    charter schools core principle of autonomy and
    the compliance and procedural regulation central
    to special education. One example the tension
    between team decision-making the primacy of
    parental choice.

Why state-specific TA?Implementation Issues to
  • Knowledge gap
  • Navigating Linkage
  • Charter school characteristics
  • Authorizer characteristics
  • State Education Agency role
  • Access to special education infrastructure

Implementation Issues Knowledge Gap
  • Substantive gap between what charter school
    personnel know about special education and what
    they need to know
  • IDEA requires depth of knowledge
  • Lack of knowledge interferes with successful
  • Impact of knowledge gap apparent at all levels

Implementation Issues Linkage
  • Linkage reflects the degree to which a charter
    school can operate autonomously or conversely,
    the degree to which it relies upon an LEA for a
    multiple of issues related to special education
    continuum from total- to no-link
  • Autonomy triggers responsibility which can be
    overwhelming for a charter school
  • Linkage to an LEA requires bargaining and
    brokering between the LEA and the charter school
    which also has its challenges

Implementation Issues Charter School
  • Most charter schools are relatively small and
    cannot take advantage of economies of scale
  • Charter schools granted to provide unique or
    innovative programs yet required to offer open
  • Majority of charter schools are new start-ups
    with limited experience and knowledge

Implementation Issues Authorizers
  • Charter authorizers may only ask charter
    applicants for little more than general
    assurances not to discriminate
  • While some states require training prior to
    charter schools opening, the vast majority of
    states do not require any special education
    related training


Implementation Issues Authorizers
  • Authorizers and state education agencies are the
    primary providers of technical assistance and
    training to charter schools
  • Authorizers and individual consultants are the
    primary providers of ongoing assistance with the
    provision of special education services in
    charter schools

Implementation Issues State Role
  • State provided TA needs to consist of
  • Special education technical assistance to
    individual charter schools
  • Written documents (e.g., manuals, FAQ documents)
    specific to special education and charter schools
  • Training offered specifically for charter schools

Implementation Issues Infrastructure
  • A special education infrastructure is a local
    education agency, an intermediate administrative
    unit, a cooperative, a community based
    non-profit, a comprehensive education service
    provider, or other external entity that provides
    a charter school with fiscal, human, legal, and
    organizational capacity that is otherwise
    virtually impossible to amass in a single school
  • Project SEARCH identified the importance of
    infrastructures and Project Intersect examined
    the role and identity of these infrastructures

Consequences of Implementation Issues
  • 2/3 of the state charter school officials
    reported that they have received formal
    complaints related to special education in
    charter schools
  • Majority of the complaints pertained to provision
    of special education services
  • Nearly 70 of state charter school officials
    reported that counseling-out is an issue
  • 33 small issue
  • 24 somewhat of an issue
  • 12 a big issue

How can states develop their own primer?
  • Review the primer developed by the TAC Project
    and use it as a guide.
  • Convene the major stakeholders including
    influential charter school operators, the state
    director of special education, the charter
    association administrator, a representative from
    the states authorizers.
  • Facilitate small groups working on an operator
    and an authorizer primer by going through each
    page of the template adding and deleting as
  • Assign roles to each major group to ensure
    completion of the primer.
  • Determine who will be responsible for the
    primers printing and/or web distribution.

Developing a State-Specific PrimerA States
  • The opportunity
  • The challenges
  • The outcomes

  • ? Project SEARCH Final Report
  • www.nasdse.org/project_search_doc2.pdf
  • ?Completed State Primers
  • HI http//doe.k12.hi.us/specialeducation/index_to
  • ID http//www.sde.state.id.us/SPECIALED
  • MD http//marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs
  • ? Project Intersect
  • www.education.umd.edu/Depts/EDSP/ProjectIntersect
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