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***New York City: Call for SPED 'czar'; 20% of NYC kids qualify for IEPs

Feb 13, 2019, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle: Treyger demands DOE hire special education ‘Czar’ Special education students are in danger of getting lost in the shuffle in the massive New York City public school system, according to a Brooklyn lawmaker who is demanding that a point person be hired to oversee the implementation of services to children with special needs. Councilmember Mark Treyger, a Democrat whose district includes Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst, said he will introduce a resolution in the City Council on Wednesday calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to appoint a special education “czar” to ensure that students with disabilities receive all of the services to which they are entitled. … As Treyger envisions it, the duties of a special education “czar” would include checking in regularly with every school in New York to make sure kids enrolled in special education programs are getting all of the services they need. Approximately 220,000 children currently enrolled in the city’s vast school system are classified as special education students who qualify for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). That number represents about 20 percent of the 1.1 million school children in the city. … Treyger, a former high school teacher, said he has heard complaints from parents about a lack of paraprofessionals in certain classrooms and about children not getting the chance to work with a speech therapist. … Treyger said he was deeply troubled by statistics showing special education students in jeopardy of falling behind in critical areas. … According to the DOE’s own data, only 78 percent of students with disabilities are receiving all of the services they are entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, he said. “And our four-year graduation rate for special education students is only 50.4 percent,” he added. …


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