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Charter schools leave the neediest students behind

To the editor: If all children were cut from the same cloth, perhaps then Marguerite Roza's argument would be more persuasive. ("Do charters really 'drain' money from public school students?" Opinion, May 19)

But what of special-needs children, the very students charter schools are so reluctant to enroll? More aides are required in a classroom with special-needs children. A special-education teacher may be assigned to a single student for the whole school day. Depending on the severity of the problem, there may be a need for psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and other professionals.

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Because traditional schools serve everyone, their per-pupil costs are significantly higher than charter schools. Charter schools can effectively cherry pick their students, leaving children with the greatest needs in traditional schools.

Charter schools are indeed siphoning money from traditional schools.

Chuck Petithomme, Burbank

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To the editor: The Times neglected to mention that Roza was a senior consultant to Bill Gates, the billionaire who, along with others like him, wants to replace public schools with his corporate-style education model.

Just look at Washington state: Gates' money forced charter schools on the state, though the people voted against them three times. In the end, however, Gates got his way in 2012, outdoing citizen groups, parents and educators who opposed charters. The vote barely passed. Gates even got around the high court's ruling against public funding for privately managed charters.

Is Gates getting his way in California too?

Sandra Goldman, Santa Monica

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