LAW OFFICES OF
MELVYN W. HOFFMAN
& ASSOCIATES
 

         SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW

CHANCELLOR DENNIS WALCOTT ORDERS TOP HIGH SCHOOLS TO ADMIT MORE STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
January 31, 2012



Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has put the city’s elite high schools on notice to admit more students with special needs, the Daily News has learned.

In a sharply worded email sent to principals this month, Walcott told administrators to admit as many students with special needs as neighboring schools or the Education Department would place the students for them.

“We recognize that this transition is a substantial one,” wrote Walcott, adding that the department would beef up supports for disabled students to help them settle in the high-performing schools.

Last year, 11 of the city’s screened high schools had fewer than three students with special needs, a News analysis shows.

And fewer than half of the city’s 103 screened high schools took as many disabled kids as non-screened neighboring schools.

Advocates applaud the agency’s push to place disabled kids in elite schools, but said the city has to make sure adequate supports are in place.

“Placing more accountability on schools to ensure they admit more students with special needs is a good thing,” said Jaye Bea Smalley, co-president of the Citywide Council on Special Education. “The devil is in the details.”

[via NY Daily News]



NYC AUDIT SHOWS OVER 72,000 SPECIAL NEEDS  CHILDREN SHORTCHANGED WITH SERVICES
January 24, 2012

The city's school system failed to provide individual special-education services to more than a quarter of all children legally entitled to such help during the 2009-2010 school year, Controller John Liu said in an audit released late Tuesday.

Speech, occupational and physical therapy, vision and hearing services were not made available to 72,306 of 285,736 students referred for such help, Liu found in his review of an $839-million program also known as Direct Student Services.

The controller blasted the DOE for not aggressively recruiting more special-ed vendors, a failure he said led the agency to pay “unnecessarily” for higher-priced independent consultants.

Parents and advocates for special education say Liu’s report confirms what they’ve said for years.

“We had eight parents whose children were referred for support services back in the spring,” Susan Luger, who specializes in representing special ed parents, said Tuesday. She said the DOE had only just authorized hiring a service provider Tuesday.

“My daughter is supposed to be getting physical therapy,” said Jay Bea Smalley, a public school parent and special ed advocate on the upper West Side “I have a (DOE authorization) for physical therapy for her, but I can’t find a therapist for her.”

As for Liu, he keeps showing he is one public official unafraid to say the emperor has no clothes.

“The DOE can hem and haw about ad nauseam,” he said. “But the fact remains that the DOE has failed thousands of kids with special needs.”


[via NY DAILY NEWS]


AUTISIM AND LEARNING INFORMATION GRAPH
January 20, 2012






APPLE LOOKS TO REDESIGNS THE WAY OUR CHILDREN LEARN WITH iBOOKS 2
January 20, 2012

Apple introduced iBooks 2 for the iPad on Thursday during a special education-related media event in New York City. The new version of iBooks adds support for interactive textbooks — a feature plans to exploit as part of its initiative to change how students learn.

iBooks 2 offers thumbnail views for textbook content, the ability to zoom in on high resolution images, intro movies, 3D model viewing, support for swiping to highlight text in textbooks, and support for viewing glossary terms without leaving the current page.

[via macobserver.com]



CUOMO'S BUDGET CUTS TARGETS SPECIAL EDUCATION
January 17, 2012


As one of his “major initiatives,” Mr. Cuomo is trying to reign in the state’s spending on special education services, which has doubled over the past decade as the number of children with disabilities has risen. He is proposing to cut $20 million in spending on preschool special education programs to districts outside of New York City by changing how the programs are funded.

He has also proposed saving $99 million over five years through cost reductions to the state’s early intervention program, which offers therapy and support services to children younger than three with disabilities such as autism or cerebral palsy.

[via nytimes.com]


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