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The Fraud of the NYC Board of Education: Special Education Students are Thrown Out, Ignored, Harmed
The New York City Board of Education under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein has deliberately denied a free and appropriate public school education to children with special needs, says a new report issued by the NY State Education Department. We at parentadvocates applaud the truth, and hope that change will occur.
Parentadvocates' staff members have been very active for more than 6 years helping children with special needs obtain their necessary services and accommodations. New York City's education establishment does not want these kids. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein dont want you to know that, so they have silenced the media, influenced the legal and judicial industry to deny all claims, and have retaliated against any teacher or administrator who dares to speak out with a protest or evidence of the lies being told to parents.

Children with special needs are almost never given the services listed on the Individualized Education Plan ("IEP"), and a thousand excuses are given, such as "The speech therapist got sick, and never came in"; "the agency did not have enough therapists, so there was no one for your child": "we will get someone next week"; "we cannot get anyone, your child has to be placed into a different school"; and you can think up many more.

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) members will do whatever they can to "convince" you that they know more than you do about your child, the services available for the special need your child has, and what the law says. Dont believe them. As you will see in the report below, ALL of the New York City School Districts are not accommodating children with special needs. There is no "free and appropriate education" in Joel Klein's "Children First" Program.
Betsy Combier

From Leonie Haimson, Director of Class Size Matters:

A new report was released, showing that the exclusion of special ed students from the new small high schools continues, even after the first two years, despite claims by DOE.

What is not mentioned in the article below is 1) the recent state ed report on special ed graduation rates specifically recommended that NYC small schools start admitting these students in greater numbers. See

2) NYC has much lower graduation rates for this population than elsewhere in the state - -even lower on average in the four other large urban districts.

3) The Office of Civil Rights in the federal Dept. of Education is currently investigating the discrimination of these students by NYC’s small schools, after a complaint filed by the Citywide Council on High Schools.

For those who would like to read the entire report – which is excellent – it’s available at and shows many other problems w/ the NYC system of finding appropriate schools and services for these students, who have to face an even worse Darwinian jungle than the rest of our students.

This is one more of a growing number reports critical of the impact of NYC’s implementation of the small school initiative – joining an even longer list of such studies nationwide.

October 13, 2006
Study: New Small High Schools Are Failing on Special Education
BY SARAH GARLAND - Staff Reporter of the Sun


Special-education students are being blocked from attending the new small high schools opened during the Bloomberg administration, according to a study released yesterday.

The small high schools are supposed to offer a full array of special-education services after two years, but a study by Parents for Inclusive Education found that after three years some small schools did not offer any.

The study follows a state report released last week that listed New York City among the 17 school districts with the worst dropout and graduation rates for special-education students, although the state education commissioner, Richard Mills, commended the city for its efforts to improve special education.

The lawyer for Parents for Inclusive Education, Kim Sweet, a co-author of the study, said students with disabilities also should benefit from "this great new high school reform that promises more individual attention to students."

According to the report, 11.5% of the 184 small schools open this year offered special-education classes. It also found that 7.5% of the small-school students are special-education students, compared to 10.7% at other high schools.The report relied on interviews with principals, administrators, and parents and a phone survey of a random sample of small schools.

The Department of Education has a policy of not requiring new small high schools to offer full special-education services the first two years, to give them time to build their capacity.

"Within the new school reform effort, the Department continues to build capacity in the new small schools, and is pursuing ways to build on and broaden the early successes of schools that are getting better results with Special Education students," a statement from the education department released yesterday said.

A parent who participated in the study, Mary Ann Tsourounakis, said she believes her 15-year-old daughter, Zoe, who has Down syndrome, would do better in a small high school, but she hasn't found any that will accept her.

"My kid will shut down if there's a lot of chaos and a lot of noise, and a small school would be better for her in the long run," Ms. Tsourounakis said. "My daughter is not going to be a Rhodes scholar, we all know that, but being able to be in a small group, being able to talk, being able to be listened to is huge."

The dropout rate for special-education students is 29% and the graduation rate is 18%, according to the state report released last week.

New York State Education Department Board of Regents
For more information, contact
Jonathan Burman, Tom Dunn, Alan Ray at 518/474-1201

75 School Districts Identified for Low Performance Among Students with Disabilities

The State Education Department has identified 75 school districts as “In Need of Assistance or Intervention” because of low performance among students with disabilities, Commissioner Richard Mills announced today.

This action is part of the Board of Regents initiative to close the achievement gap. It is also required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Many districts identified, which include the Big Five cities, have graduation rates below 35 percent and dropout rates above 20 percent among students with disabilities. Many districts also had low performance in one or more of the 4th and 8 grade English and math tests and failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2004-05. Districts with 30 or more special education students in the cohort were identified.

Districts “In Need of Assistance” will go through a review of instructional practices to ensure they are using proven, research-based methods and/or professional development. They will get help from special education experts funded by the State Education Department. Districts “In Need of Intervention” may also be required to redirect their federal IDEA funds, which totals $700 million statewide.

"Students with disabilities can and do succeed in many schools throughout the State,” Commissioner Mills said. “But in other schools their performance is very low. The Regents are putting the spotlight on this problem and requiring major improvements. All schools can and must help these students to achieve the standards.”

The U.S. Department of Education will also soon identify states as “In Need of Assistance or Intervention” under IDEA. States and school districts that fail to make progress can ultimately face federal intervention or lose federal funding.

New York State has 410,000 students with disabilities, about 12 percent of the total public school student population. About 225,000 or 55 percent of students with disabilities are in the 75 districts that are being identified today.

The statewide graduation rate for students with disabilities is only 37 percent; the dropout rate is 19 percent. New York has set a goal of 80 percent graduation, with a target for improvement from the current 37 percent to 52 percent by 2011.

All of New York City’s 32 geographic districts are identified, as well as the alternative high school district.

The State Education Department will provide identified districts with assistance from special education experts funded through IDEA and located regionally throughout the State.

The attached chart and slides provide additional information.

Chart Summary Data:

There are 58 school districts designated as "needs assistance"
There are 17 school districts designated as "needs intervention", including NYC.
In NYC, there are 33 districts: 10 districts were identified as "needs assistance" and 23 as "needs intervention"

Yamilka's Journey

Advocates For Children: Special Education in NYC (what should be implemented but isn't - Ed)

In New York City, New Small Schools Do Not have Many Special Education Students

New York City Ed Department Cited by Audit as Defrauding Federal Government

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation