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Saturday, December 27, 2008

DOE Violates Special Ed Law

DOE violates state special ed law, union says
Jan 17, 2008 6:08 PM
NY Teacher

The UFT has called upon New York State officials to investigate the Department of Education’s “widespread failure” to comply with a state law designed to help students with disabilities.

The union charges the DOE with “systemic and ongoing” violation of Education Law 4402(7), which requires the administration to ensure that each regular education teacher, special education teacher and related service provider responsible for implementing a disabled student’s Individualized Education Program receives a copy of it before it’s put into action.

“A teacher who works with a disabled student is supposed to have a copy of that student’s IEP – plain and simple,” said UFT Vice President for Special Education Carmen Alvarez. “How can educators be expected to help a student learn if they don’t have the specific information they need to guide their instruction?”

In October and November 2007, the union surveyed chapter leaders to determine whether all appropriate staff members in their schools receive copies of the IEPs of the special education students they teach, serve or work with.

Chapter leaders from 415 schools reported that copies of IEPs were not provided to all general and special education teachers and related service providers responsible for executing the student programs. In addition, chapter leaders from 549 schools reported that paraprofessionals who assist in helping students with disabilities did not have access to the IEPs of the students they work with.

Survey results were recently sent by the union to the State Education Department. The union wants the SED to step in and direct the DOE to inform its relevant offices and special education administrators of the requirements of the law, and has further asked the state to require that principals be held accountable by certifying in writing that they are in compliance.

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