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NYC: $250M for special ed; more than 180,000 public school students with IEPs

Nov 19, 2021, Gothamist: NYC Schools Still Ramping Up Promised Support For Students With Disabilities

The New York City Department of Education has pledged an unprecedented investment to help students with disabilities recover from the pandemic. But at a City Council hearing Thursday, parents, advocates and lawmakers said the department is falling short of its promise to help special education students gain ground they lost during a year and a half of disrupted learning. According to the education department, schools are developing plans for students based on their unique needs and through consultations with parents.

The de Blasio Administration promised in July to invest $250 million in special education programs, an enormous sum supported by federal stimulus dollars. That includes a plan to provide additional instruction and services after school or on Saturdays to each of the more than 180,000 public school students with Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs. Students will also be able to receive academic support as well as counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. …

“Every day that passes without those services exacerbates existing gaps between students with special education needs and their peers,” Maggie Moroff, coordinator of the Action for Reform In Special Education (ARISE) Coalition, said.

“There’s no way to sugar coat this, we are failing,” Mark Treyger, chair of the council’s education committee, said.

Since schools first shut down in March 2020, parents have said the impact on students with disabilities has been especially severe. …

Meanwhile, a new education department report reveals other gaps in services for students with disabilities. According to the report, about 87% of students received the full suite of services outlined in their education plans. That is actually a 4 percentage point increase from previous years, but still leaves tens of thousands of students who are not receiving all their required supports. Only 81% of IEP evaluations were completed within the legally required 60-day time frame.

As reported first by Chalkbeat NY, the number of students seeking special education services dropped precipitously from 22,000 pre-pandemic to under 9,500 last year. However, experts worry the steep decline may reflect the challenges families faced connecting with schools online and navigating remote learning during the pandemic rather than a decrease in need.

City officials said students with disabilities “continue to be at the forefront” of the school system’s pandemic recovery efforts. …

1 Comment

fei fei
fei fei
Nov 30, 2021

I saw more literal short buses visiting Long Island, NY than any other U.S. state. Entire colonies of short buses, by the dozens… just in LI NY. Nowhere else.

Has the autism rate in LI NY already surpassed 1 in 2 / more than 50% of kids?

🧩 🧐 🚌

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