Archive for the tag 'special education'

P.S. 225 in Brighton Beach (Source: Google Maps)

P.S. 225 in Brighton Beach (Source: Google Maps)

A Department of Education employee allegedly punched an 11-year-old autistic boy at Brighton Beach’s P.S. 225 (1075 Oceanview Avenue), leading to felony assault and other charges, reports the Daily News.

The paper reports:

Milton Parker, 58, a paraprofessional at Public School 225 in Brighton Beach, attacked the youngster last Thursday after he had spilled water on the floor, according to the boy’s father, Anatoly Veltman.

Parker ordered Anatoly, Jr., to clean up the spill, but the boy apparently did not understand what he meant — further enraging the supervisor. He grabbed the boy and punched him in the face, according to court papers.

“The police officer told me Mr. Parker said my son said ‘something racial’ to him,” Veltman told The News. “I spoke to my son and all he could say was he told (Parker) to ‘keep your hands to yourself.’”

The boy, who has the cognitive and social skills of a 6-year-old, was treated at Coney Island Hospital for a possible concussion and severe bruising of his face.

While paraprofessionals are assigned to supervise some special needs students, Parker was not assigned to Veltman.

School security cameras caught the incident on tape, which police reviewed. Parker was charged with felony assault, manacing, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. He was been suspended without pay.

school classroom by Dan Nguyen

A new, more inclusionary approach to educate NYC students with special needs is proving easier said than done, says a new report by Chalkbeat. The organization spoke to students, parents, and school officials and found that schools are struggling to implement mandatory reforms to special education, while its effect on students is still unproven.

Integrating special needs students by enrolling them in general education classes, mixed classes (including typical and special needs students), or a combination of the two, was an idea first publicly introduced in 2003 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The proposal was launched as a pilot at a limited number of city schools in 2010, and launched citywide in 2012. Chalkbeat, though, found that some schools lacked the resources and the scramble to implementation is leaving some of the neediest students behind.

Students affected by this Special Education Reform and interviewed by Chalkbeat each had unique experiences, some positive, some not. They include Joseph, a middle schooler with ADHD who was placed in mixed classes as per the city’s new policies, and for whom no purely special education classes were available when attempts to mainstream proved unsuccessful; Noah, whose mother Britt Sady pushed for his inclusion in a general education class so as to set higher standards for his learning and increase his chances of graduation; Christon Solomon, a middle schooler who says small learning sessions in special education classes work better for him than general education; and Thomas, who was suspended often in special education classes, but is doing better since being introduced to mainstream and mixed classes.

The experiences of parents and kids profiled are diverse, as are the abilities of the schools discussed to see that students’ needs are met–often, says Chalkbeat, schools simply aren’t provided with adequate staffing or financial resources to abide by the 2012 reforms. This is the case with Joseph–whose transfer to another school was finally approved only near the end of the school year, and presumably because his mother Clara, who works for the Department of Education, came armed with a certain amount of knowledge regarding red tape.

“Sometimes, if the parent doesn’t question [a school's inadequate handling of a special needs child's education], it just goes under the radar,” family advocate Olga Vazquez, of mental illness and developmental disability service support agency ICL, told the publication.

Certain schools are benefitting from reforms more than others. The article says funding is disproportionately doled out to schools with integrated classrooms instead of simply general and special education ones, and parents of both typical and special needs students at Harlem’s P.S. 112, for example, have requested mixed classes to enhance their kids’ educational experiences.

However the jury is still out, quantitatively speaking, on the effectiveness of integrating kids of different abilities into the same classrooms. Chalkbeat says some test scores have increased marginally, but others have not. What does appear to be clear is a widening discrepancy in disciplinary action being handed down to special needs students in mainstream classrooms, but DOE Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi says Chancellor Carmen Fariña has no plans to overhaul the 2012 reforms.

If you’re an New York City educator or parent, what’s your take on the matter? Have you run into any of the problems stated in Chalkbeat’s article, or seen students improve under new policies? Should properly run mixed classrooms benefit all students–and what would running them properly entail of schools, teachers, and the DOE? How would funding and resources be distributed if you had it your way?

Photo by Dan Nguyen

Weinstein

A special education bill sponsored by local Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, which would have demanded that evaluators consider the “home life and family background” of special education students when placing them in schools, was vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

Although the bill does not specifically address religion,  religious parents were elated at the bill’s stipulation that “home life and family background” be considered when placing special education students in schools or reimbursing parents for private school tuition. However, Cuomo put and end to this excitement, saying that the mandate was too broad and would have forced taxpayers to cover the expense of religious education.

“This administration … is committed to providing the best education and assistance to every child in New York, including children with disabilities,” Cuomo wrote in his veto message, according to the Wall Street Journal. “However, this bill unfairly places the burden on taxpayers to support the provision of private education.”

Continue Reading »

Brooklyn Senator Marty Golden is hosting his 5th Annual special education forum and is inviting educators and parents of students in School Districts 20, 21 and 22, to attend today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Regina Pacis Center at 1258 65th Street in Brooklyn.

In attendance will be a panel of experts regarding how to improve children academically.

Sorry for the late notice!