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Advocates’ wish lists for the coming special ed shake-up

On Monday, Chancellor Joel Klein and the city’s Chief Achievement Officer for Special Education, Laura Rodriguez, are having breakfast with a group of special education advocates to discuss ways of boosting the opportunities for and academic success of the city’s students with disabilities.

We’ve heard from several people in the special ed world that the Department of Education could be announcing major initiatives, though the DOE is publicly characterizing the meeting simply as “part of a continuing conversation” on how to best serve special needs students.

In advance of the meeting, one important set of stakeholders has put together a list of things they’d like to see. The ARISE Coalition, a group of activists and advocacy groups, published today its recommendations for the DOE, which include better reporting of how schools educate special needs students and giving schools more resources to do it. The document also lists ways schools can better work with parents “as true partners”:

Finally, but perhaps most important, with regard to parent engagement and participation in the special education processes, while we recognize there is a spectrum of parent ability to participate in intensive planning and progress for their child, the fact is that most parents want to be fully included in the process. It is the task of the DOE to provide information about educational rights, programming options, and a wide range of ways for parents to participate in the process of developing IEPs and selecting appropriate programs for their children.

Read more of the ARISE Coalition’s recommendations for change in the city’s special education programs here.

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