The New York City public school system is the largest provider of special education and related services in the nation, serving nearly 181,000 children, or approximately 15% of the city's school-age population. Within the DOE, there are more than 18 distinct entities in addition to District 75, reporting to at least three deputy chancellors and one superintendent, each responsible for providing a different aspect of special education. There is also insufficient representation of parents of children with disabilities on the Panel on Education Policy and Citywide Education Councils. The repeated reorganizations and fragmentation under mayoral control has led to longer delays for initial evaluations and the provision of special services as well as extremely low rates of achievement and lower graduation rates than in any other part of the state.
Expand the Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE) to represent not just District 75 students and parents, but all children who receive a continuum of services mandated by an IEP (Individualized Education Program).
Reserve a seat for a parent of a special education student on each of the Community District Education Councils and the Citywide Council on High Schools, to serve as liaison to and provide crucial frontline input to the CCSE. As outlined under "Accountable" above, a seat on the Board of Education should also be set aside for such a parent, to be elected by the special education members of CDECs, the CCHS and the CCSE.
Require that a "cabinet-level" position (i.e., Deputy Chancellor) be established, charged with fulfilling and protecting the right to a "free, appropriate public education," as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all students with special needs.