You can visit msacommunity.org for additional information.
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.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
You can visit msacommunity.org for additional information.
Monday, July 27, 2020
All signs indicate that in-person instruction in New York City will resume in September and our firm wants to make sure you have the information you need to prepare for a safe transition back to school.
As you may be aware, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued new guidelines in favor of reopening schools this fall. The CDC emphasized that the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms children with disabilities. We believe it is imperative that students with disabilities be able to transition back to in-person learning safely as soon as possible.
When New York City schools re-open, school will consist of a combination of in-person instruction and remote learning (what is being termed "blended learning"). There will be staggered schedules, face coverings, social distancing, and deeper sanitizing. Recently there has been talk about incorporating outdoor learning as well. District 75 schools for students with disabilities will have in-person instruction for all of their students, and students with IEPs will be instructed in person as much as possible.
Families can opt to have 100% remote learning. If they choose to do so, they have until August 7 to inform the Department of Education of their decision.
NYC also will be offering childcare for parents of young children who are not in school yet and children who are enrolled in blended learning programs for their remote learning days.
Private schools have been rolling out their own "return to school" plans, which may differ from each other, but likely will include a combination of the NYC public school measures noted above.
New York State has issued overall guidelines, but it will be up to New York City to figure out the details on its own. You can stay up-to-date with NYC Department of Education updates here.
Our firm is here to speak with you regarding your circumstances and guide you patiently through these unusual times. If you are an existing client and you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please contact the associate attorney assigned to your case to discuss the matter further, or contact our office administrator to schedule a virtual meeting.
If you are not currently a client and you would like to discuss your child's educational rights and explore moving forward, please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.
Friday, July 10, 2020
SCOTUS Decides Espinoza et al. v. Montana Department of Revenue et al. And Protects Freedom Of Religion
- Montana's Constitution barred government aid to any school controlled by a church, sect, or denomination (the "no-aid provision")
- The Montana legislature created a program to provide tuition assistance to parents who send their children to private schools; tax credits were granted to anyone who donated to organizations that awarded scholarships to students attending private schools
- The Montana Department of Revenue chimed in regarding the scholarship program and prohibited families from using scholarships at religious schools
- The Montana Attorney General warned the Department of Revenue that excluding religious schools from the program would very likely violate the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against the schools and their students
- This lawsuit was brought by parents who were blocked from using scholarship funds for their children's tuition at a religious school, on the basis that the Department of Revenue's rule discriminated against them on the basis of their religious views and the religious nature of the school they had chosen
- It is noteworthy that the scholarship organization highlighted in the decision focused on providing scholarships to families have children with disabilities
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Although I do not know exactly what school in the fall will look like, there are a few things I can say confidently. When in-person school does re-open, it likely will look different than it ever did in the past. It could include various measures including staggered schedules, face coverings, and social distancing within classrooms. Based on what our firm has seen so far, some parents are going to take a wait-and-see approach, while others are going to view their current circumstances as an opportunity.
- Some parents who are feeling uncertain are not re-enrolling their children in private special education schools right now. The result: coveted spots at some of NYC's best private special education schools, which typically have waiting lists, may actually have openings. New families who are ready to act swiftly and commit to the new school year may be able to ensure their child's enrollment there when in-person schooling resumes.
- Some parents who are feeling uncertain are not pursuing evaluations to identify their child's needs and determine an appropriate program. The result: families who are pursuing evaluations are finding that they are able to get appointments without the typical months-long wait list. They will be able to secure evaluations on an expedited basis and will be prepared for applying to schools and justifying their child's placement to their school districts. Those who are not pursuing evaluations now will be dismayed when the masses decide to pursue them later and appointments become scarce again.
- Some parents who are feeling uncertain are not engaging legal services. The result: those who are engaging legal services will have the advantage of being able to file their due process complaints early. This will minimize delays resulting from the case backlog at the impartial hearing office due to a shortage of impartial hearing officers, allow for faster adjudication of parents' claims and, if they prevail, result in faster disbursement of funds by the school district.
These are trying times and no one knows for certain how the situation will develop. Don't let that stop you from taking the necessary steps to set your child up for success when in-person instruction does continue.