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The emergent charter school model for ninth grade mildly disabled United States students: Extending to Africa

Emmanuel Teah Vincent, Johnson & Wales University


An ethnographic, descriptive research methodology was used to explore the service delivery of three U.S. charter schools (one independent and two dependent secondary public charter schools) in Southern New England, United States as they relate to grade nine mildly disabled special needs students. Field research was also conducted in Costa Rica and Japan focusing on special education. The United States charter schools are public schools that operate under a contract (or "charter"). Parents of students with disabilities are now seeking the charter school as a viable choice to the public school. By comparison, the current policy in Liberia, Africa by the Ministry of Education is aimed at promoting the integration of children with disabilities into the regular schools at all levels ("mainstreaming" in the U.S.). This holistic study includes multiple data-collection methods. Data are collected via field research, observations, and in-depth interviews. Interview participants were purposively sampled from each school to include ( n=20) parents, (n=8) teachers and (n=6) administrators. Primary sources of the data were persons working at the schools in the U.S., Costa Rica, and Japan. Secondary sources include original documents such as student IEP'S, testing reports, and student journals. Content and document analysis was also performed on personal documents, official documents, school memos and records, newspaper articles, and photographs. Findings from this research suggest that the U.S. charter school movement has gone through many transformations since its inception in 1991. Nevertheless, previous concerns echoed by charter school pundits regarding how mildly disabled students in U.S. charter school are serviced, still remain a central concern. These emerging research findings also suggest a shortage of special educators in charter school working mildly disabled students, uncertified core content educators in specialized areas (Math and English), and in some cases administrators lack of compliance of IDEA (2004) mandates. Transferring these U.S. findings together with field research conducted in Japan and Costa Rica; produce two targets for a potential application of the "charter" school model to Liberia, Africa: (1) basic literacy of "mainstreamed" children, and (2) women's access to education.

Subject Area

Special education|Secondary education|Education philosophy

Recommended Citation

Vincent, Emmanuel Teah, "The emergent charter school model for ninth grade mildly disabled United States students: Extending to Africa" (2009). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3365835.