Special Education Law

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 13 2012

NYC’s SPED Reform Rollout

If you haven’t heard yet, NYC is planning on launching it’s latest and ‘greatest’ special education reform in recent memory. This started out as a pilot launched by Special Education Deptuy Chancellor Laura Rodriguez, who is interestingly departing the DOE before the implementation takes full effect this fall; yes, in your classroom. New York City has a problem. It’s special education is one of the least inclusive in the country, meaning that more students are in special classes and special schools proportionally than students who are in ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching), formally known as CTT (Collaborative Team Teaching) than other cities. While personally I believe inclusion is a wonderful setting for many students (I was an ICT teacher), I don’t think it’s for every student and have seen students perform better when put in smaller classes. Unfortunately, smaller classes are just not trendy. Inclusion is trendy. So, NYC is just trying to keep up with the greatest special education fashion trend. Here’s how the reform is shaping up to work: http://gothamschools.org/2012/05/24/pep-okays-special-ed-funding-plan-despite-requests-for-caution/. Ultimately, schools will recieve more money for declassifying students, moving students out of small classes and keeping students in inclusion settings (not moving them to smaller classes). The UFT is not happy. Special education advocates are not happy. For example, http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/06/12/city-urged-to-slow-down-on-special-ed-plans/. From a legal perspective, it’s going to make arguing FAPE for special education students a lot more difficult. Schools are going to have pressure to put students in inclusion settings that might not be the best fit. This is going to mean that arguing these settings are appropriate will be a bit tricky. I’m intrigued to see how it all plays out…

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