Friday, September 7

AFC report: DOE not readying special ed kids for life after school

A report released today by Advocates for Children takes aim at the DOE's approach to preparing special education students for life after they finish school. The report, titled "Transitioning to Nowhere: An Analysis of the Planning and Provision of Transition Services to Students with Disabilities in New York City," finds that the Individualized Education Plans of the more than 13,000 students with disabilities who leave the city's public schools every year don't always address how the students will begin to live and work independently.

AFC reviewed IEPs for more than 250 transition-age kids (transition begins at 15 and ends at 21, when kids are no longer eligible for public education) and found that 26 percent had no evidence of any transition planning at all. In addition, AFC found that students were involved in crafting their own plans only 30 percent of the time, and parents were involved only 70 percent of the time. Community organizations and outside agencies, who are required by law to be a part of the transition planning process, were used in only 4 percent of the IEPs reviewed. The DOE agrees that it needs to work on complying with IEP requirements in general.

AFC recommends that the DOE actually start planning kids' transitions when they're 15 and reevaluating the plans yearly to make sure kids are making clear progress toward measurable goals, something that often isn't done for kids in special education. The report also calls for better tracking of what students do once they leave public school and for better vocational training programs to prepare kids to work once they've transitioned out of school. Following these recommendations would make a world of difference for kids with special needs, but better tracking efforts and improved vocational offerings would also be terrific for kids in general education.

No comments: