Throughout New York, parents of children with special needs have the right to expect a quality education for their kids. Certain accommodations, extra attention and adherence to the rules is imperative to achieve that. This is true even in troubling times such as during the current pandemic in which many children are unable to get to their school and online learning is necessary. Parents who are facing challenges in their children getting the education they are entitled to should be cognizant of their legal rights. This is true in any context including disciplinary hearings, tuition and there being enough teachers to properly instruct the children.
Special education students negatively impacted by lack of teachers
New York is facing a lack of teachers to comply with the rules for integrated co-teaching (ICT) in special education and parents are expressing concern about it. The program requires that there be two teachers in each class. However, there is a major understaffing problem. There has been a grievance filed by teachers about it. Parents have said their special needs children – who had been doing well in school – have had their educational advancement damaged by the violation of this rule. They say the education that their children are supposed to be getting has not been provided.
There are approximately 100,000 students in ICT. Forty percent of the students are disabled. With the health crisis, students have been placed in classes that have either a special education teacher or a general education teacher only when there are supposed to be both. According to the Department of Education, the schools comply even if that is not evident to the parents as the teachers are working together behind the scenes. Anecdotes from parents say that their children are experiencing a decline in their schoolwork due to the shortage. Schools are seeking to add staff as the school year proceeds.
Special education problems may require legal assistance
Parents of special needs children rely on schools to provide the necessary environment for their children to advance educationally and personally. This includes following the rules. Despite the understandable challenges with remote learning and a dearth of teachers, it is incumbent on the DOE and schools to give special needs children the education they need and are entitled to. For parents who are dealing with any issue related to special education, it may be beneficial to have legal assistance from a firm that specializes in education law.