Fewer disabled students enroll in charter schools

Overall, there were lower rates of special-education enrollment at charter schools in all but eight states.

As the number of charter schools expands nationwide, one group of students that is enrolling in those schools at a lower rate is children with disabilities.

Eight percent of students at charter schools had disabilities in the 2009-10 school year, compared with 11 percent at traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office report being released June 20.

The difference could be a result of several factors, including fewer parents of special-education students choosing to enroll their children, charter schools discouraging disabled students from attending, and constraints on resources making it difficult for charter schools to meet their needs, the report found.…Read More

GAO report: Too little competition in wireless market

According to a government report released Aug. 26, consolidation over the past decade has left just four big carriers in control of 90 percent of the wireless market, making it harder for small and regional companies to compete, reports the Associated Press. The study by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, could help fuel the FCC’s recent efforts to increase oversight of the wireless industry. The FCC is currently considering rules that would require wireless phone companies to alert consumers before they reach roaming or data usage limits on their wireless plans. It has also been looking into common industry practices such as charging consumers early termination fees to break a service contract before it expires. The GAO study found that despite the industry consolidation, consumers are benefiting from better wireless coverage and prices that are half what they were in 1999. It also says that nearly 40 percent of U.S. households rely on a cell phone as a primary phone. Although the GAO reached no firm conclusion on the causes of limited competition in the wireless sector, it does list a number of factors regularly cited by smaller carriers and consumer groups. Those include early termination fees and handset exclusivity deals such as AT&T Inc.’s contract with Apple Inc. to serve as the sole U.S. carrier for the iPhone…

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For-profit colleges face more scrutiny in new report

Enrollment at for-profit colleges has climbed to 1.8 million in recent years.
Enrollment at for-profit colleges has climbed to 1.8 million in recent years.

A government report released Aug. 4 details “fraudulent” practices among recruiters for some for-profit colleges, and public criticism of the popular institutions has mounted as recent statistics show that at least one for-profit university received $1 billion in federal Pell Grants during the 2009-10 academic year.

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) posed as college students and found that four out of 15 institutions they examined “encouraged fraudulent practices” to secure federal student loans, and representatives from all 15 colleges “made deceptive or otherwise questionable statements” to the undercover students, according to a report published on the GAO’s web site.

The extensive report is the latest in a string of negative publicity for for-profit schools, which include industry giants such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, and DeVry University.…Read More