Tuesday, June 26

Special ed still more segregated in NYC

Special ed students in NYC are placed in separate classrooms more often than in the rest of the state, and more than twice as often as the national average.

Today the New York Times published the results of a state report on special education, reporting that educational officials called New York City's statistics "disturbing." Of particular concern is the lack of special ed integration into regular classrooms:

New York State recommends that students with disabilities be integrated into the general population in regular classrooms wherever possible, saying that they benefit academically and socially from the broader contact.

But in 2006-7, 9.4 percent of students in New York City were taught in separate settings, compared with 6.8 percent for the state. The city’s number was more than twice the national average of 4 percent, state officials said. That is virtually unchanged from a decade ago, when 9.5 percent of special education students were in segregated classrooms in the city, the report said.
Although the article did contain some praise for Chancellor Klein's special education policies, overall the city's progress in this area is clearly lagging.

1 comment:

Seth said...

The segregation of special education classes in NYC is pretty bad, and the students in special education classes feel it. Earlier this year, representatives of the New York City Student Union ran workshops eighth graders about how they could influence school decisions once they entered high school. A main part of our mission has been to educate and inspire our fellow students so that they truly believe that they can make change in their schools. To help the eighth graders realize this we started the workshops by talking about how they felt about their schools. In the general ed classes the typical student response was, "the bathrooms are disgusting," or, "my teacher doesn't listen to me." In the special ed classes, the answers were much more focused and passionate. Many of the students felt that they were excluded by general ed students. They added that instead of trying to remedy the problem, the administration's policies were actually making it worse. In that school, the special ed classes were located in the basement (it should be added that the only classes in the basement were special ed.) The students' only class with their general ed peers was gym. These students knew that they were being segregated to an unfair extent and this further disconnected them from their school.
Out of all the classes we went to for those workshops, the only class that was able to create a comprehensive "action plan" for dealing with school policies that they thought were unfair was the grade's only inclusion class. There is your proof. Integrating students with different needs into the same class is very difficult for all parties involved. However, it can produce some great results.