New York’s special- needs community won a long-standing fight last month, when Mayor Bill de Blasio — in an “about face” from the Bloomberg administration — announced an end to the horror faced by too many children with special needs and their parents at the hands of the city’s Department of Education.
When parents determine that public schools cannot meet the needs of their child, federal law allows the child to enroll in a nonpublic school at the cost of the school district. But rather than comply with federal rules, the DOE waited for months to respond to parents’ appeals; annually challenged student placements, despite the child’s Individualized Education Program remaining constant; and put parents in debt by delaying reimbursement payments.
Years of complaints and advocacy paid off when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and de Blasio announced sweeping changes to the flawed DOE system.
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