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NYC special education recovery services program to be scaled back this fall

07.29.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | To the outward facing part of the world, it’s very last minute,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at the nonprofit Advocates for Children. “It’s hard for me to imagine, if this hasn’t been communicated to the schools yet, how it’s going to play out successfully.” 

Students with disabilities have a legal right to “compensatory services” if their school does not provide all of the specialized instruction or therapies included on their IEP. And a significant share of students with disabilities missed out on special education instruction or therapies that were difficult or impossible to provide during remote learning or as staff were stretched thin. 

But successfully advocating for compensatory services can be time consuming and require legal help. If the district does not agree to provide those extra services, families can go through an administrative legal process to compel the city to provide them, though that process is complex and has faced extreme backlogs that often stretch many months. Advocates for Children filed a lawsuit in an effort to force the city to create a more streamlined process, though that suit has not been successful so far. 

Even if the city instructs schools to provide more compensatory services, Moroff noted that many students aren’t scheduled to have an IEP meeting until the spring, raising questions about how quickly students will have access to extra help. 

“If a student’s last IEP happened last April, they’re not regularly scheduled for an IEP meeting until next April,” she said. “Sure, a family could ask, but that shifts the burden onto the family.”  Read article