For Immediate Release Contact:
October 29, 2014 Roslyn Singer, 212-613-8227
In his testimony before the New York City Council Education Committee and the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools, Jake Adler, OU Advocacy’s New York City Director of Political Affairs, urged the City Council to consider even greater reforms for New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) in how it manages its special education services than those included in Proposed Intro 435.
Proposed Intro 435 would require the DOE to submit an annual report to City Council about its special education services, which would include information about evaluations, referrals, placements and compliance.
Adler applauded the legislative proposal and the impact it would have on “changing the current climate of DOE’s unresponsiveness” to parents, individual Council Members and the City Council as a whole. Beyond the annual report, however, he recommended that the City Council consider bi-annual reporting by the DOE to the Council on city-wide special education services data; quarterly reporting by the DOE to individual Council Members on special education data for public and non-public school students in their districts; uniform access to the Special Education Student Information System (SESIS) for students receiving services in non-public school settings; and uniform standards for inputting data into SESIS in order to streamline the methods and scope of data input by all schools.
As an education advocate and a former staffer at City Council, Adler is “very familiar with the struggles that parents of children with special needs face when dealing with New York City’s Department of Education, regardless of whether their children are enrolled in public school or non-public school,” he said.
“I believe that proposed Intro 435 is a necessary first step toward ensuring that the promises that were made to the City’s parents are kept and that our Council retains its vital role of oversight,” testified Adler. “Only through Council oversight can we ensure an equitable resolution to the concerns at the DOE and reinstate confidence in the DOE for New York’s special needs community.”