My mission is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues.
I would like to visit and observe different types of schools that have proven records of success, wherever those schools may be. I would like to meet with school directors and administrators, government officials, leaders in the business world, and others who are responsible for implementing education systems or otherwise connected to education to learn more about how education is being addressed in their communities.
If you know of any remarkable schools in other parts of the world (especially special needs schools), please let me know about them. If you know of any education experts who are engaged in remarkable work in this field, please introduce me to them.
Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas regarding the above. Read more about my mission here.
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Monday, June 13, 2011
Special Education Mandate Relief Proposals (continued)
The following is a list of some of the changes being proposed by the NYS Board of Regents as an effort to reduce the obligations of school districts to parents of children with special needs:
- Eliminate the requirement that a psychologist attend each CSE meeting, and the requirement that a parent member attend each CSE and CPSE meeting
- Eliminate the requirement that a school physician attend the meeting when timely requested by the parent
- Change the requirement that the parent selects the preschool evaluator and instead allow the school district to make that decision
- Establish that all public school districts are approved evaluators for pre-school purposes
- Change the timeline governing school districts' obligation to conduct an initial preschool evaluation from 30 school days from the time of parental consent to 60 calendar days from the time of consent
- Modify the level of required testing with respect to initial evaluations
- Eliminate the requirement that school districts have plans and policies for appropriate declassification when it is determined that an individual no longer has special education needs
Their argument is that NYS went beyond its call of duty when the legislature enacted laws that were stricter than what federal law mandated. In some areas NY law does require things that federal law does not address (see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/policy/mandaterelief-fed-vs-state.htm). Presumably that was because the legislature understood that federal law didn't go far enough and that education was an issue important enough to require heightened responsibilities. New York is known for its availability of services for children with special needs but at the same time there are many families being deprived of services they are entitled to. As important as the budget is, reducing school district responsibilities can have long-term consequences. I'm not sure if requiring the presence of a school psychologist at IEP meetings is what's breaking the bank or most in need of reform. We need to address the sheer number of students who require special education supports and I'm not sure that our education system is in such a state that we should be looking to abrogate parent and child rights.