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Charters in New York Can Be Revoked for Low ELL Recruitment

New York state has made some changes in its education law aiming to spur charter schools to recruit and enroll more English-language learners.

As of May 2010, charter schools in New York can be closed for repeated failure to meet or exceed enrollment and retention targets for ELLs. Those targets are set by the New York Board of Regents or Board of Trustees of the State University of New York.

I was just tipped off to this change in the law by a study published last month in the Journal of School Choice. That study found that ELLs were underrepresented in New York City's charter schools from 2006-2008. I'd posted a different paper reporting on the same study nearly a year ago on this blog.

The article in the Journal of School Choice mentioned the new changes in the law and stated: "These policies imply considerable change in most charter schools' approaches to student recruitment and enrollment, and they signify awareness of the ongoing inequities in charter school enrollment." The researchers add that the new policies will have to be carefully implemented and strictly enforced for charter schools to make substantial changes in recruiting and keeping ELLs.

Other than New York, Massachusetts has recently approved a law that requires charter operators set to open new schools to show plans to recruit English-language learners and demonstrate they have a track record in serving such students if they operate in a district where ELLs are present. The law also requires them to enroll a proportion of ELLs similar to the proportion in the region they draw from. According to one ELL advocacy group, though, implementation and enforcement of that law has not yet been strong.

Readers, do you know of any other states with laws governing charter schools offering protections for English-language learners? If so, hit the comment button.

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