Posts Tagged 'Special Education'

Special Education

Special Ed for 12 years under Bloomberg was devastated. It was if he took a bulldozer to special education under the guise of reform. Children with special needs suffered the most.

Klein empowered principals and ignored children, emboldening incompetent principals. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is impermissible to recommend services based on the availability of the program or personnel, space, budget or administrative convenience. But that is what happened.

Under de Blasio and Fariña, it should be possible to reverse the damage done to thousands of children during the Bloomberg years of neglect. But there needs to be real, enforced controls on principals piling extra work on special education teachers and professionals without providing adequate time. And our students with special needs should be freed from Cuomo and Tisch’s cruel testing requirements.

Special Ed under Bloomberg

(from the New Action leaflet distributed at the June 2014 Delegate Assembly).
For a printable version click: June 2014 Leaflet Front and back

Special Ed Under Bloomberg

“I want you to love your job again.” These were the words of Carmen Fariña to special education teachers, school psychologists, social workers, speech therapists and other related service providers.

Special Education for 12 years under Bloomberg has been devastated, to say the least. It was if Bloomberg took a bulldozer to special education under the guise of reform. And the children with special needs suffered the most.

Children’s’ needs were totally ignored in the interest of cutting the budget. Klein empowered incompetent principals who had no time for individual students’ special needs. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it is impermissible to recommend services based on the availability of the program or personnel, space, budget or administrative convenience.

Bloomberg’s policies on special education bordered on child abuse and neglect! Often parents and staff had to advocate for the appropriate programs and related services for their children through the Special Education Complaint Form. Impartial Hearings spiked 300%. Caseloads for school psychologists and school social workers increased considerably, causing a rise in work disputes! Increased paperwork and SESIS forced special education teachers and providers of related services to interact more with computer monitors than with children.

Under the new de Blasio Administration and new Chancellor Carmen Fariña, it should be possible to reverse the damage done to thousands of children during the Bloomberg years of neglect. We need directives from the new administration to reverse the Bloomberg era abuses. Then, with the proper funding for programs, services and materials, the most vulnerable in our system may finally receive the services that will best serve their needs, and teachers, school psychologists, social workers, speech therapists and other providers can again love their jobs.

Oppose ‘Mandate Relief’ – New Action Exec Board member

Testimony before New York State Regents opposing Proposal #1 mandate relief – to remove School Psychologists from CSEs.

Good evening, my name is Maria Ramos, I have been a School Psychologist for 16 years and before that I was a general education teacher. I am an employee of the NYC Department of Education. I am also an Executive Board Member of the United Federation of Teachers.

When I was 18 years old I volunteered to work at Willowbrook State School –  Some of you may remember the pictures of that school when in 1972 Geraldo Rivera revealed the autrocities of that place — and what I witnessed for my self – the horrendous conditions that children were subjected to —-I had to quit after only two weeks because it literally made me sick and depressed.  It was then I knew that I wanted to be part of the solution – so this would never happen again. As a school psychologist I have blown up into poster size  PL 94-142  of 1975.   I have it on my bulletin board in the parent teacher conference room. It is the guide to Least Restrictive Environment which states that “to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities…are educated with children who are non-disabled”; and that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

It is the school psychologist through the psychological educational evaluations,  observations, clinical interviews working with other staff members and parents, who determines the severity of the disability—and therefore we the school psychologists safeguard children’s rights to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

In conclusion I want to leave you with these words from Stephen Jay Gould in The Mismeasure of Man

“We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.”

Our role as school psychologists and what we do is intertwined in the very civil rights of our children. And if this mandate relief is passed — I think it puts us on a very dangerous road that can lead back to Willowbrook State School.


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Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
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