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April 16, 2018
Let’s solve the right problems for Detroit’s students with disabilities — not recycle old ones
I’ve spent 25 years both studying and actively trying to improve schools for students with disabilities. Segregated settings aren't the answer.
model of inclusion
December 14, 2017
New York City is placing students with disabilities in mainstream classes. But do they actually feel included?
Feelings of inclusion vary widely by disability type.
Updated November 18, 2015
Too many of NYC’s youngest special-ed students are isolated, state says
Nearly 47 percent of the city's preschoolers with special needs attend classes just for students with disabilities, despite research on the benefits of integration.
August 11, 2014
Special-education overhaul leaves students less isolated, but schools struggle to keep up
New special-education policies have helped better integrate students with disabilities into the general-education system. But many educators have struggled to carry them out and some students have fallen through the cracks.
May 18, 2012
At the Queens High School of Teaching, a model of inclusion
Like most seniors at the Queens High School of Teaching, Sabrina Alphonse takes a range of academic classes, had a blast on her senior trip, and is starting to plan her future. But Alphonse is different in one key way: She is not technically a student at the school. Instead, Alphonse, who is wheelchair-bound, attends Q811, the District 75 school for severely disabled students sited on QHST’s campus. All city schools include students with special needs in some way. Many have self-contained classes that serve only students with disabilities. Others operate some classes where special education and general education teachers work together to serve both kinds of students. But few are “fully inclusive,” as QHST is. Full inclusion means that every student with special needs who is admitted to QHST is educated in the same classroom as general education students. There are no self-contained classes. It also means that students such as Alphonse, whose disabilities are so severe that they are enrolled in District 75, taking classes alongside general education students and joining in with all of the QHST’s day-to-day activities, clubs, and programs. About three dozen Q811 students are enrolled in QHST classes, but all of the District 75 school’s students can participate in the high school’s extracurricular activities, and many do. QHST is not just different because of how it has included students with special needs. Its success with them is also substantially different. Across the city, only a little more than one in four students with special needs graduates from high school in four years. At QHST, it’s well over 70 percent — not far off the school’s overall 88 percent graduation rate.
May 20, 2011
Special ed reforms causing evaluation backlog, advocates say
Bumps in rolling out new special education rules are holding up crucial assessments of the city’s youngest students, advocates say. Consequences could be severe if the assessments aren't completed by the June 15 deadline. Students who don't receive placements by that date but do need special education services are entitled to full reimbursement of private school tuition dollars, according to state law. That’s not likely to happen: Even in a typical year there aren’t enough private school placements for all the students who are entitled to them. But the crunch does suggest the city faces difficulties in cutting its growing expenditures on private school special education placements, which Mayor Bloomberg complained last year costs the city $100 million annually. Months into the rollout of a set of special education reforms meant in part to integrate disabled children into their neighborhood schools, advocates report that the city is scrambling to evaluate children with special needs who will be entering kindergarten this fall. “It’s going to be really difficult to get things into place for a large number of families of students who are going to come into kindergarten next year,” said Maggie Moroff, the coordinator of the ARISE Coalition, which supports special education advocates.
June 16, 2009
Report: High school closures hurt students learning English
The rise of small high schools has decimated programs for students whose native language is not English, making the students more likely to drop out. That's the conclusion of a report released today by two watchdog groups that look out for immigrant students, Advocates for Children of New York and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The groups studied two large, low-performing high schools that the city decided to replace with small, themed schools and found that students who are classified as English language learners enrolled in smaller numbers in the new schools. Students who did enroll often did not receive the services they needed, the groups found. What's more, according to the report, most of the new schools are too small to offer a range of language services: State law mandates that schools create bilingual programs if they enroll more than 20 students in the same grade who speak the same native language. The DOE has interpreted this mandate to mean that parents of 20 students in the same grade who speak the same language must "opt-in" to select a bilingual program - and that merely meeting the numerical enrollment threshold is insufficient.
October 28, 2008
Teacher struggles with being told to leave a child behind
Teacher-blogger Mr. S believes he’s responsible for making sure every child he teaches makes what Teach for America calls “significant gains.” But he’s…
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