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Saturday, July 31, 2021

NY State Commissioner Betty Rosa Suggests Remote Schooling For Children and Their Relatives With Health Issues

Education Commissioner Betty Rosa wrote in a Thursday memo that districts
 “may work with students and families to offer remote options if it is deemed to be
 in the best educational interest of the student.”

Children with special needs have accommodations on their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) which are funded by the state and federal governments. Having been a parent advocate for 22 years and a parent to four children all of whom graduated from the NYCDOE (one with an IEP), and after winning almost $1 million for parents to attend private schools or programs at Impartial Hearings, I can give an informed opinion on the Department's latest false statement that these students possibly will be staying home and doing remote schooling.

The fact is, the Department wants/needs/spends the federal and state funds, and must monitor these funds closely, for audits and accountability purposes.

I and many other advocates for parents of children with disabilities know very well the fraud going on in NYC public schools in the area of giving the proper services to the kids who need them. Take ICT classes, for instance. ICT classes are supposed to have two teachers in the core subjects: one certified in special education and the other certified to teach general education students. Many principals give the ICT classes only one teacher, or one teacher and a substitute/paraprofessional. It's cheaper to do this. Also, when a parent gets let's say OT (Occupational Therapy) on their child's IEP and their child is supposed to get 3X30 (three sessions/week for 30 minutes) I tell the parent to have the therapist jot down a note of how their child did after each session, or ask the child every day what happened in school. Parents can keep track of missing dates of therapy.

But most parents don't do this, so principals, always mindful of keeping the school budget in the black (not over-spending available funds), may take away one or two days/week of the therapy and give the child one OT session/week, while telling the therapist not let the parents know. This is a business model of special education where the child comes last.

Children don't matter.

We posted this in 2008: DOE Violates Special Ed Law

What happens if the parent finds out? The principal is "horrified", and disciplines the OT person with a letter-to-file, discontinuance, or 3020-a charges. Then it is up to the OT person to defend his/her work, his/her schedule, career, character and life.

There are many, many stories that are the same, with the common denominator being "how much can I get away with"?

In the NYC DOE you can get away with a lot, considering there is no accountability nor investigators to uncover the truth. I have written about this many times before:
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James Sues The NYC Department of Education for Denying Special Education Children Their Services and Accommodations

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara Scolds the NYC Department of Education For Not Making Schools Accessible To Disabled Children

The only way this might work is to give each parent of a child with an IEP the money for remote schooling, so the parent can use it as they see fit, with proper monitoring.

NYC fights family of disabled Bronx student over pandemic school ‘age-out’ policy by Michael Elsen-Rooney, NY Daily News, July 31, 2021

Ivelisse Ramirez (left) and her daughter, Maria Torres. (Wes Parnell/for New York Daily News)

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
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Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

DOE mulling remote schooling options for kids in special circumstances

Julia Marsh and Selim Algar, NY POST, July 31, 2021

City officials are considering a remote schooling option for kids with immunocompromised relatives, a source told The Post Friday.

The Department of Education previously said that students who themselves are vulnerable could learn from home — but the city may now extend that offer to kids with family members at elevated risk, the City Hall source said.

News of the proposal drew skepticism from some educators. A Bed-Stuy middle school teacher warned that expanding remote learning eligibility could complicate the resumption of classes in September.

“It’s going to be difficult to know where to draw the line,” she said. “I can see that becoming a headache for principals if it’s not handled properly or clearly.”

Meanwhile, state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa wrote in a Thursday memo that districts “may work with students and families to offer remote options if it is deemed to be in the best educational interest of the student.”

She also urged administrators to “consider the value of online capacity developed in response to the pandemic” in crafting their curriculums this year.

Rosa stressed, however, that state officials “will not require schools that are open for full-time, in-person instruction to provide online or remote instruction” to students.

Some families and teachers union factions have called for the retention of a remote learning option for the upcoming school year.

Asserting that screen learning is inferior to in-person instruction and isolates kids, others have demanded an unrestrained return to classrooms.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been adamant in proclaiming the end of widespread remote classes — but the emergence of the Delta variant has induced fresh parental jitters about the upcoming year.

“While the nature and extent of COVID-19 and its variants are still dynamic, it is essential that schools receive whatever guidance the Governor and the DOH intend to offer about the 2021-2022 school year as soon as possible …,” Rosa wrote in her letter to superintendents.

Parents and staffers have also been at odds over City Hall’s requirement of masks inside DOE schools in the fall.

Citing ongoing coronavirus concerns, some have backed the mandate and argued that the pandemic remains a threat inside classrooms.

Others have resisted the push, countering that COVID-19 cases in city schools were minimal last year and that masks hinder learning and socialization.

The DOE insisted Friday that the remote format introduced last year was completely defunct.

“As we announced in May, we will welcome back all students in September and there will not be a remote option,” said spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon. “Our home instruction program, which benefits a small number of children who are medically unable to attend school, will continue as it did pre-pandemic and as always, we will work with families to tailor the instruction based on the medical needs of each child.”

Backers include City Council education chair Mark Treyger, who said the “DOE should offer a fall remote option for kids not of vaccination age” earlier this month.